Posts tagged "Charles Napier"

Maniac Cop 2 (Review)

Maniac Cop 2

Maniac Cop 2 William Lustig
1990
Written by Larry Cohen
Directed by William Lustig

Maniac Cop 2 William Lustig
Maniac Cop is crazy. Maniac Cop 2 is crazy to the infinite power! Imagine everything from the first film, but turned up to 11. Director William Lustig said he usually has a need to top himself, and since he had done so much with Maniac Cop, he felt he just had to keep pushing for the sequel. The result is what he considers his best film, and was my favorite of the screenings. Lustig described this entry as Frankenstein meets The French Connection

William Lustig said he and stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos watched a lot of Hong Kong action cinema in Chinatown theaters, which gave them inspiration on how to handle a lot of the scenes. And with that statement, suddenly the inspiration for what happens in certain sequences is clear. It’s not a direct riff, but the manic energy and just visceralness of Hong Kong cinema is what’s used to power scenes of Maniac Cop blasting his way through a police station, or the crazy car chase on flaming rims while Susan Riley (Claudia Christian) is handcuffed to the steering wheel. There is even an extended fight sequence while Maniac Cop is on fire! This is all real, no CG or anything (though Lustig did say he used a bit of digital work on the digital print to erase wires that were now too visible, and to touch up the flames that were too dim under the restoration. But nothing major, and it doesn’t show.)
Maniac Cop 2 William Lustig
I saw Maniac Cop 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in their Bay Area Now 7 program, under the Invasion of the Cinemaniacs! heading, specifically the part curated by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks of Midnite for Maniacs, who hosted two William Lustig triple features (a sextuple feature?) spread across two days. All three Maniac Cop films screened on Saturday night, while Friday featured Maniac, Vigilante, and Hit List. William Lustig returned for the second night of screenings and gave some more entertaining Q and As, some of which is peppered into the Maniac Cop reviews.

Set right after Maniac Cop yet somehow jumping from March to December (just ignore that bit!), Maniac Cop 2 begins with the ending of the original, the jumps right to a robbery in progress that the Maniac Cop stops…by shooting the store own and the cops on the scene and thus framing the robber. Maniac Cop continues on a killing spree as such, slaying cops and others take the fall, while last movie’s heroes Teresa Mallory (Laurene Landon) and Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) are cleared of trouble, but no one believes them when they say the Maniac Cop is still alive. Soon they are bumped off as we move to this film’s heroes, Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi being the most Robert Davi he can be) and Police Counselor Susan Riley (Claudia Christian). McKinney knows something strange is going on, and he’s one of those tough cops who’s not into things like therapy.
Maniac Cop 2 William Lustig
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hit List (Review)

Hit List

Hit List William Lustig
1989
Story by Aubrey K. Rattan
Screenplay by John F. Goff, Peter Brosnan, Josh Becker, and Scott Spiegel
Directed by William Lustig

Hit List William Lustig
Hit List takes the vague premise of Vigilante, but heavily rewrites it for late-80s/early-90s direct to video action. It’s less dirty and gritty, with more wise guy quips and an optimistic tone. But shades of Lustig’s themes are there. The system is still broken, criminals are running free and they can’t be contained by the courts, and our heroes will have to step in and do what the system won’t. Hit List was made for Cinetel Films, best known here for their constant stream of SyFy flicks. Lustig had previously made Relentless for them, which had become one of the top-grossing DTV films of 1989 and even had a limited theatrical run.

Hit List has another amazing cast – Lance Henricksen, Rip Torn, Jere Burns, Charles Napier, Harold Sylvester. Weirdly, the success of the film being funded rested entirely on getting Jan-Michael Vincent to play the lead. Also weirdly, according to William Lustig, Jan-Michael Vincent was often drunk on set, Lustig joking that Vincent could barely stand up straight for many shots. The script was rewritten several times, including reworkings by uncredited writers Josh Becker and Scott Spiegel.
Hit List William Lustig
I saw Hit List at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in their Bay Area Now 7 program, under the Invasion of the Cinemaniacs! heading, specifically the part curated by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks of Midnite for Maniacs, who hosted two William Lustig triple features (a sextuple feature?) spread across two days. Hit List screened after Maniac and Vigilante, while the next night was all three Maniac Cop films. William Lustig himself was in attendance, and did some entertaining Q and As. Lustig is very charismatic and shared stories about filming and some of the actors/producers of his films. I’ve included some of what he mentioned in the reviews.

The supporting cast and the stunts are the things to focus on for Hit List, because everything else just doesn’t work right. Lance Henriksen is just amazing as the crazed hired assassin Chris Caleek, who also is a women’s shoe salesman (a deadly Al Bundy?) That tidbit makes Harold Sylvester’s appearance more fun, as he was a regular in later seasons on Married With Children as Al’s coworker Griff. Henriksen spends his undercover time wearing gigantic glasses and flirting with old ladies, but quickly switches gears to firing guns and having a mean look on his face. He also sports a huge tattoo across his back.
Hit List William Lustig
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 20, 2014 at 7:35 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,