Posts tagged "Larry Cohen"

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (Review)

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence

Maniac Cop 3
1993
Written by Larry Cohen
Directed by William Lustig and Joel Soisson

Maniac Cop 3
The final chapter of the Maniac Cop trilogy is a disappointing finale that fails to live up to the standards of the prior two films, but does sort of make up for it with the last reel and the simply crazy stunts. While Maniac Cop 2 was Frankenstein meets The French Connection, Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence is Bride of Frankenstein meets The French Connection!

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence had a lot of problems getting made. The original script from Larry Cohen focused on Santería rituals and had a black detective lead character. Funding for the film require presale rights money from Japanese distributors, who were very happy with the prior two entries and were mysteriously dragging their feet on this installment, but wouldn’t give the exact reason. When the suggest was made to bring back white actor Robert Davi, suddenly the Japanese distributor was on board for funding. So…yeah. That meant the script had to be heavily rewritten to switch out the character, thus changing some supporting characters. They started shooting with only 70 pages of script (which is ~70 minutes of film, but probably less), not enough for a full feature. The producers were frantically trying to add pages as production went on, and an increasingly distracted and annoyed William Lustig (who was also working on a different film as producer at the same time) was losing interest in Maniac Cop 3. This eventually lead to him leaving production and Joel Soisson stepping in to film the scenes needed to pad out the running time. Which means the Frankenstein theme extends to the film itself!

The padding is obvious in a few cases, scenes seem to go nowhere or go on far longer than they should, and a few others are repetitive and just repeat the same information or give us extra evidence certain people are jerks. It becomes a distracting mess, and Maniac Cop spends most of his time hanging around a hospital killing whoever stands in the way of saving his promised bride, another cop who was shot in the line of duty. She’s supposed to be resurrected as his bride, but he keeps characters from pulling the plug on her, which is sort of weird. Maybe the Santería priest who brought Maniac Cop back from the dead needed some time to recharge?
Maniac Cop 3
I saw Maniac Cop 3 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.

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence again takes place soon after the prior entry. The dirt is barely shoveled into Matt Cordell grave before he’s raised again by a Santería priest, who needs the Maniac Cop for “dark days” ahead. What exactly those dark days are, we will never know, because nothing like that happens.
Maniac Cop 3
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 23, 2014 at 7:45 am

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

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

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Maniac Cop (Review)

Maniac Cop

Maniac Cop William Lustig
1988
Written by Larry Cohen
Directed by William Lustig

Maniac Cop William Lustig

You have the right to remain silent…forever.

Maniac Cop is a timely film to watch the week I saw it, as Ferguson, Missouri was having yet another night of protests and police crackdowns due to the murder of an unarmed black man by the cops. Heck, the latest round of trouble was happening while I was watching the Maniac Cop trilogy! Some of the same elements are there, people trusting the police less because of the killing(s – because there have been several unarmed black men killed by police just this year), a media firestorm, and lots of violence. Maniac Cop was made in an era before increased police militarization was normal (though elements of that filter into the sequels), otherwise we might see Robert Z’Dar running around in SWAT gear in addition to the patrol uniform. Maybe that’s something that will be present in the rumored remake.
Maniac Cop William Lustig
Maniac Cop features the twisting of a symbol of trust into an instrument of fear. The juxtaposition of the police, who protect and serve, and one of their own who has become a killing machine plays into the plot, as the media firestorm causes all sorts of tragic results. But the police not always being a symbol of order is hinted in several spots, especially a “man on the street” bit as citizens are interviewed about the Maniac Cop. A black interviewee mentions how he knows several people who were shot in the back by police. They even say cops like killing. It’s chilling how this narrative hasn’t changed in decades. Lustig frames this with elements of film noir, the cynical style fits in perfectly with the concept of police killing people and lone detectives trying to prove who the real killer is.

I saw Maniac Cop at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (yes, Maniac Cop was screened at a museum!) 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 the second 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.

Of all six films, Maniac Cop was the only one I had seen previously, approximately 20 years ago on cable. I remembered vague things about it: Bruce Campbell, gunshots doing nothing to the gigantic Maniac Cop, the cop running over people, the final stunt off the dock, and the final cliffhanger shot.
Maniac Cop William Lustig
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 21, 2014 at 7:43 am

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