Maniac Cop 2 (Review)

Maniac Cop 2

Maniac Cop 2 William Lustig
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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Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror

Written by Melissa Wallack & Jason Keller
Directed by Tarsem Singh

I killed and skinned a Bjork to wear her hide to this gala!

Mirror Mirror is the first theatrical Snow White movie of 2012 to hit theaters. Featuring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, and Tarsem Singh’s distinctive visual style of making every frame look like something you’d use as a desktop background, Mirror Mirror is a beautiful film. But beyond the exterior beauty, your enjoyment of Mirror Mirror will depend on how close you are to the target audience, primarily young girls and their mothers. Mirror Mirror is not bad, there is plenty of action and humor for everyone, but I can see that if I was a 7 year old girl, this film would be the awesomeness. Instead, it’s just good, not great. There are problems such as a few slow spots and a lack of suspense due to the Snow White story being so old and used that we all know the day will be saved, the Evil Queen defeated, and Snow will get her Prince Charming. It’s more of the journey, not the destination, that is important in these cases. While parts of the classic Snow White tale are used, some parts are glossed over, while other pieces are added after being weaved from thin air.

The next guy who calls one of us “Dopey” gets his knees cut off!

Differences abound immediately from the other Snow White, for instead of a Lord of the Rings inspired fantasy, Mirror Mirror is a live action cartoon. The only thing missing was talking animals! Between Tarsem Singh’s imagery and Eiko Ishioka’s costumes, the fantasy world of the fairy tale is alive and well on your movie screens.

Steve Jobs, you bastard!

The scenery is beautiful, from the CGI spectacle that is the castle sitting over the frozen lake to the snow-covered forest where danger may lurk behind every tree. The costumes are amazing, and I could spend thousands of words describing them all. But you really must see them to appreciate them. The opening sequence done in a puppet-style is marvelous, much appreciated compared to all the flat Flash opening sequences I’ve seen in films lately.

And once again, TarsTarkas.NET has sold out and went to an advanced screening for free!

Snow White and the Full Monty

Snow White (Lily Collins) – Snow White is the daughter of the King, who rules over a happy Kingdom. But he is lost when fighting a frightful Beast, and the Kingdom falls into the hands of his new wife, the Evil Queen. Snow is trapped in her room, never to leave the castle. Until one day she decides to… Daughter of Phil Collins, Lily Collins originally auditioned for the role of Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman, which ended up casting Kristen Stewart.
The Queen (Julia Roberts) – The vainest woman in the world, The Queen runs through the Kingdom’s treasury like a hot knife through butter, driving the Kingdom to ruin and keeping it locked in a permanent winter. Her latest scheme is to marry yet another handsome prince to refill her bank account. And wouldn’t you know it, a handsome prince just happens to wander into the Kingdom…
Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) – The handsome Prince who is in search of adventure, and he finds one in a Kingdom ruled by an evil Queen and the King’s rightful heir leading a rebellion consisting of dwarves. Also the Queen wants to marry him, even victimizing him with love potions. Armie Hammer plays the Prince so straight-laced and heroic that’s it’s amazing. You can almost see Cinderella and Belle fighting over him just off screen… Also Armie Hammer sounds like Arm & Hammer, so let’s put Armie Hammer in our fridge to see if he stops odors…
Brighton (Nathan Lane) – The Queen’s loyal servant, who was the loyal servant to the King before her. He doesn’t really like what he does, but doesn’t dislike it enough to do much of anything about it. His character is both literally and figuratively a cockroach, though he isn’t entirely evil.
Let’s kick that other Snow White movie’s butt!

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