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Maniac Cop 2 (Blu-ray Review)

Maniac Cop 2 - www.whysoblu.comThe Maniac Cop is back from the dead and stalking the streets of New York once more. Officer Matt Cordell was once a hero, but after being framed by corrupt superiors and brutally assaulted in prison, he sets out on a macabre mission of vengeance, teaming up with a vicious serial killer to track down those that wronged him and make them pay… with their lives! Robert Davi (LICENSE TO KILL), Claudia Christian (THE HIDDEN), Michael Lerner (BARTON FINK), Laurene Landon (HUNDRA), Leo Rossi (HALLOWEEN II), Robert Z’Dar (TANGO & CASH), Charles Napier (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), and Bruce Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD) star in this chilling, action-packed sequel written by Larry Cohen (IT’S ALIVE) and directed by William Lustig (MANIAC). Featuring a brand-new 4K High Definition transfer from the original camera negative, this definitive presentation of MANIAC COP 2 comes packed with exclusive extras!

Maniac Cop 2 - www.whysoblu.com

Film 

In this second installment of the Maniac Cop series, ‘Maniac Cop’ Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar) has returned from the dead, to dispense unholy justice to those that dis him wrong in the previous film. Officer Cordell was a decorated good cop until corrupt superiors framed him for crimes he didn’t commit. He was sent off to prison and put into general population where he was brutally assaulted and left for dead. Flashing forward, weeks, maybe days, after the events of the first film, Cordell has returned from a watery grave to finish his mission. 

Cordell is imbued, at this point, with supernatural abilities making him, essentially, a walking corpse that cannot be stopped. The city and police force are in a state of panic. To make matters worse there’s a serial killer on the loose that preys on young strippers. This leads to a truce of sorts as serial killer, ‘Turkell,’ (Leo Rossi) joins forces with Cordell to take everyone down. It’ll be up to hardboiled Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) and police officer/psychologist Susan Riley (Claudia Christian) to put a stop to it before the entire NYC police force is burned to the ground.

The Maniac Cop series bring back lots of memories, because I remember the “new release” posters of the first two films at my local video stores. I remember watching the first film on VHS but have no memory of the second one at all. I don’t think I ever rented it but the cover art is memorable. We can finally put closure on this chapter of B-movie horror mayhem and say that Maniac Cop 2 is pretty much one of the best horror-cult films of all time. The story is a bit cheesy but what it lacks in depth more than makes up for in production values. The settings, stunt work, make-up effects, etc., are outstanding and rival many of the techniques of today’s low budget horror, back when there was no CGI or money to shoot with.

Another reason why Maniac Cop 2 is tops is that it takes no prisoners with its main characters. It literally goes for the throat and dispatches key players, with extreme prejudice, who played important roles in the first film that had segued into the sequel. Mind blown! I would not necessarily say that it’s pivotal that you watch the first film, mainly due to Maniac Cop 2 having several scenes and flashbacks that established what happened in that particular film, which brings the viewer up to date.  Maniac Cop 2 is also a bit quirky (no surprise since Larry Cohen wrote it) in that it does borrow from certain action and horror films from that time period. You may get a flashback or two while watching. I know I did. Leo Rossi’s insane portrayal of Turkell is over the top. He looks like a very disheveled Rob Bottin.

Again, the reason why Maniac Cop 2 stands above the original and others like it is that it goes for the proverbial jugular. Lustig and company had three times the budget the first film did, so they had a bit of leeway in designing the gags for the film – and to make them as hardcore as possible. Maniac Cop 2 is the only film in recent memory that shows a human being on fire from head to toe as it lumbers forward in one take. Not only were the stunts creative, they were deadly. Don’t even get me started on the woman being handcuffed to a moving car, as she has to steer it FROM THE OUTSIDE! It’s pretty outrageous.

I’ve got Maniac Cop 3 on my plate next, so we will see if it’ll come close to the madness of Maniac Cop 2. I’m not holding my breath on that one, though. Keep it here on WSB for that review coming soon!

Maniac Cop 2 - www.whysoblu.com

Video 

Maniac Cop 2 is presented in 1080p, 1.85:1 widescreen. This print was given a 4k high definition transfer and it damn well shows! I thought it was 1990 by the looks of things! The grain structure is amazing and was never tampered with – there are no instances of artificial scrubbing or smoothing whatsoever. The city has a grimy edge to it and comes off beautifully on this transfer. The city that Maniac Cop 2 inhabits is not one you want to be in. As this was also the official first year of the 90’s, we do get some late 80’s flourishes here and there like the loud lighting, clothing, and hairstyles. The transfer does justice (if you can call it justice) to these anomalies of the times. Skin tone and textures are also impeccable and Cordell’s wounds and decayed face really scream out at you. Black levels were consistent throughout as was the color scheme. No color banding issues were detected and sharpness levels stayed consistent, as well.

Maniac Cop 2 - www.whysoblu.com

Audio 

Maniac Cop 2 is presented in DTS-HD MA 7.1, 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, and Dolby Surround 2.0. The isolated score is presented in DTS-HD MA 2.0. Frankly, I don’t think Maniac Cop 2 sounded this good in theaters. It has been given a full lossless surround sound track that buries its contemporaries along with some of the newer stuff put out today. Dialogue is focused and clear, music and effects intermingle with each other through the various other channels and the LFE bumps. The surround sound channels do carry lots of information and are not just there for ambience or decoration. They’re very much active. One would think that the sounds effects would be of the canned variety, therefore sounding canned, but they do not. I’m not aware that new sound effects were recorded for the Blu-ray release but whatever systems were used to enhance what was already there Blue Underground did a fantastic job in doing so. Maniac Cop 2 is one of the best sounding Blue Underground releases to date.

Leo Rossi

Extras  

Maniac Cop 2 gets the fully loaded treatment on Blu-ray. First up we have a full audio commentary with director William Lustig AND director Nicolas Winding-Refn. This is an awesome commentary in that Refn acts as more of a moderator than someone who is just kissing butt at how cool Maniac Cop 2 is. He’s obviously a fan but gets into the nitty-gritty with Lustig and that is a rarity nowadays. It’s definitely worth a listen. Rounding off the rest of the special features is a full length making-of documentary with the entire cast and some of the crew. They talk about every little detail and nuance involved in the making of Maniac Cop 2 – with such glee, too! Regardless of what you may have heard through the years, this documentary sets the record straight, and it shows. A Cinefamily Q&A with Lustig is also on this Blu-ray along with: theatrical trailers, a deleted scene, poster and still gallery, and an isolated music track. The kitchen sink is in there somewhere, too. 

  • Audio Commentary with Director William Lustig and Filmmaker Nicolas Winding-Refn
  • Back On The Beat – The Making of Maniac Cop 2 
  • Cinefamily Q&A with Director William Lustig
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Poster & Still Gallery
  • Deleted Scene
  • Isolated Music Track

Maniac Cop 2 - www.whysoblu.com

Summary  

For a low budget film like this you’d think it was a newborn baby getting all the love in the world! And it is! Blue Underground have given Maniac Cop 2 the ultimate treatment in video, audio, and special features. It’s loaded to the brim with quality stuff and the film looks and sounds stellar. The movie stands the test of time as a high quality slasher flick and the effects and stunt work are equally amazing. Before the age of computers doing away with traditional effects work there was what you see in Maniac Cop 2Maniac Cop 2 belongs in every Blu-ray collector’s library and I couldn’t be happier. Buy it! 

 

 

 

Order Maniac Cop 2 on Blu-ray!

Maniac Cop 2 - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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