MANIAC COP 2
Director: William Lustig
Year of release: 1990
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 87 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Tagline: "Keep off the streets...Because he's back on the beat", You'll be screaming blue murder" and "You have the right to remain silent...forever".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: I'll start off by saying that this film is very much a hybrid of genres and it could be said that it isn't really a slasher at all but more of an exploitation thriller type film. I'd say it is even less of a slasher than the original which was sort of a hybrid in itself but it does contain slasher elements here and there plus follows on from number one so holds a place in my collection and thus gets a review.
The story here picks up a month or two later from the first installment with both Jack and Teresa concerned Cordell may still be alive after his body was never recovered. The police and government bigwigs are reluctant to believe in the whole Matt Cordell business so they assign Jack and Teresa to police psychologist Susan Riley so that she can assess them before they return to work. At the same time a homicide occurs at a convenience store which involves Cordell who is back to continue his revenge against those that wronged him, Jack and tears now chief among that number. As deaths begin to stack up a police detective called McKinney begins to spearhead the case of getting to the bottom of this new bunch of murders. Working alongside psychologist Riley they soon realise that the Maniac Cop is all too real and is possibly being sheltered by another madman serial killer loose in the city known as Turkell. With the investigators hot on his heels Cordell's quest for revenge culminates at the prison where he met his end as he attempts to catch up with the inmates who brought about his disfigured face.
Good points: Much like with the original everything looks good in terms of production values, everything appears slick, polished and glossy with the cinematography and direction also being on point. The stunt work is also very impressive at times. They had a bit of a higher budget this time around and when it comes to the stunts the extra money really shines through.
There is strong continuity running throughout the film with William Lustig returning to direct along with the writer plus Robert Z'Dar is back as well to take up the mantle of the monster. On top of this we see the return of the Jack and Teresa characters though this time they have very limited roles.
Mild spoilers: There are a couple of impressive death scenes which are worth a mention. Firstly one involving a police officers corpse being hooked up to a pick up truck and another scene where several officers are killed at a police shooting range. On the whole I didn't like the police station massacre as I felt it was just retreading old ground from the original but the way Cordell popped up to initiate the massacre at the start was very well done.
The two new leads of Detective McKinney and Susan Riley were both likeable to me and they made for interesting characters. They are brought in to take over from Jack and Teresa which might seem like a bad thing as they were good themselves but the new leads here do such a strong job that I quickly forgot all about the characters they had replaced. Big spoiler: The twist near the start with Jack and Teresa being dispatched so early on was unexpected and will certainly make people sit up and take notice. Sadly it was spoiled for me while I was watching the extras from the first film but it still had an impact.
I liked the story the blind newspaper seller told of his time in the war of being covered by bodies and then comparing that to how it felt to touch Cordell. It's only a small thing but a great little touch and a example of good writing.
Bad Points: I felt the story was quite weak as it didn't make all that much sense in terms of how they tried to establish a connection between Cordell and the serial killer Turkell. I thought this whole story thread was silly and unnecessary. For me most everything about the Turkell character was bad from how he looked to his too chatty personality. I didn't think it made sense as to why Cordell linked up with him. If the whole thing was just a way on Cordell's part of getting close to the prisoner who needed to be delivered to the Sing Sing jail then he could just have left Turkell to get arrested when he attacked the stripper and then have broken them all out of the station afterward. The whole thing with Cordell saving Turkell from arrest and then visiting his home seemed pretty stupid. These bits felt a bit like unnecessary padding to me and maybe Turkell was used as an excuse to show some T&A in the strip club scene. If they really were insistent on wanting some sort of relationship to develop between the two criminals then they should have fleshed it out a bit by hinting that Cordell was feeling lonely after doing away with his one time girlfriend in the previous film.
I also felt the ending where Cardell eventually makes his way to the prison was poorly done and just felt like it was tacked on at the end whereas his hunt for the inmates should have been his primary focus throughout the film. It would maybe have been a good idea for one of them to have recently been released and then Cordell could have pursued him around the city a bit. The way they did it though the revenge against the inmates thing only lasted for a short time and was over almost as soon as it began. It also wasn't totally clear how many he actually killed of those responsible.
Looking at the film from a slasher fans point of view I felt the film had too many gun related kills or people being bashed into walls and so on and not enough use of a blade. As I said I felt the police station assault was unneeded seeing that it had done before so perhaps this section would have been better served taking place in the prison as this would have been a fresh location for it and I thought the prison sequence was too short anyway.
This is a pedantic nitpick as the scene was quite good entertainment but the part with Riley being handcuffed to the car which is then set in motion is slightly unrealistic. There was no one driving the car and it didn't appear as if Cordell put a brick or anything on the gas pedal. I suppose it was just moving via its own momentum but I don't think it would have gone as fast as it did seeing that it didn't seem to be on a big hill.
Verdict: For me this was not a patch on the first film and was quite forgettable. I didn't appreciate the whole Turkell situation which I felt was silly and muddled. The writing for the story generally minus a few good snippets here and there also came across to me as quite sloppy. There are some good things going on such as the new characters of McKinney and Riley and the rap at the very end but overall I didn't think it ever rose above average.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
As with the 1st film it is hard to keep track of all the deaths but I'll have a go:
1) Store clerk: Shot by Cordell.
2) Store robber: Shot multiple times by regular cops.
3) Jack: Stabbed/impaled through the neck with knife type blade.
4) Traffic cop: Hit with nightstick and then hung from tow trucks hook.
5) Taxi Driver: Run over by Cordell.
6) Teresa: Neck snapped.
7) Policeman trying to help stripper #1: Thrown through a mirror.
8) Policeman trying to help stripper #2: Thrown against a wall.
9), 10), 11), 12), 13) and 14) all policeman shot at the shooting range with a handgun.
15) and 16): Two policemen shot on the stairs with a machine gun.
17), 18), 19), 20), and 21): All policeman shot with machine gun in larger room.
22) Police Captain: Thrown through several glass doors.
23) Prison guard: Neck snapped through bars.
24) Police station prisoner: Hit in the face with nightstick.
25) Sing Sing prisoner #1: Catches on fire and is then bashed into a wall.
26) Prisoner responsible for Cordell's death: Pulled from cell and thrown into wall.
27) Sing Sing prisoner #2: Catches on fire and is then thrown over catwalk/balcony.
28) Turkell: Catches on fire and falls out of window while tussling with Cordell to perish in bus explosion beneath the window.