Maniac Cop 2 delivers everything I could ever have wanted in a genre flick and then some. For one, this is a lean, efficient, and brutal movie. There's barely any exposition to get in the way, and Maniac Cop 2 doesn't really slow down between action sequences to catch its breath. Anyone can die at any time. So many slashers settle into the sort of rhythm where you can set your watch to when the next kill will roll around, and you can pretty safely bet who the next victim is gonna be, but Maniac Cop 2 chucks that rulebook out the driver's side window. Pretty much all of Cordell's murders caught me off-guard in one way or another, and these kills are executed in really clever, inspired, and unexpected ways. The size and scale of the action is staggering too. Cordell mounts two sieges against the heavily fortified symbols of the men that wronged him. There are multiple breakneck car chases, one of which I'd rank high on my list of all-time favorites, and that's before Claudia Christian's psychologist is handcuffed to the steering wheel of an unmanned sedan screaming downhill too. The body count is stratospheric. Some of the brutality, like the bursts of blood that go flying when a firing range starts firing back, made even this seasoned gorehound's jaw drop. If the Academy recognized stuntwork the way they should, Maniac Cop 2 would've taken home an armful of statuettes. The stunts here are extensive, elaborate,
This sequel couldn't be more perfectly cast either. Cult cinema icons Bruce Campbell and Robert Z'Dar return with Laurene Landon from the original Maniac Cop. Claudia Christian puts in a solid performance as a police psychologist forced to dust off her service revolver again, and Robert Davi also joins in as a detective investigating a parade of murdered strippers. As familiar a face as Leo Rossi's is, he's almost unrecognizable under that big, bushy beard as the serial killer that Detective McKinney is hunting down. Rossi is a cackling, maniacal blast, and who can't love the bromance he dreams that he's struck with an undead cop? Maniac Cop 2 benefits further from an outstanding supporting cast, featuring turns by Michael Lerner, Clarence Williams III, Charles Napier, Robert Earl Jones, and even a brief appearance by Danny Trejo.
Maniac Cop 2 is just a hell of a lot of fun. Larry Cohen's razor-sharp screenplay is constantly pulling the rug out from under the audience, dramatically upending things just when you think you've figured out what direction this sequel is headed. I mean that in an earned, legitimately surprising way too. The onslaught of action makes for a relentless adrenaline rush, and the stuntwork, the cast...everything is firing on all cylinders. If you're waiting for the part of the review where I start tearing into the stuff I didn't like, then I guess I should tell you now that there isn't gonna be one. There aren't any "but..."s, "except..."s, or snarky jabs this time around. Director Bill Lustig and screenwriter Larry Cohen set out to make the perfect B-movie with Maniac Cop 2, and that's exactly what they've done. Highly Recommended.
Blue Underground took a breather from Blu-ray for a while there, but they're back. They're fit, they're rested, and now they're gonna show you what a definitive release looks like.
Maniac Cop 2 never got the DVD it deserved, with First Look's release recycling the same full-frame, standard definition master that was struck all the way back in 1990 or 1991. Now that director Bill Lustig has gotten his hands on the film through his own label, he's making up for lost time.
Maniac Cop 2 was mastered at 4K from the original camera negative, something that's pretty much unheard of for a cult cinema release. Hell, not even the likes of Star Wars can say that. Blue Underground spared no expense for this release of Maniac Cop 2, and it shows. That 4K oversampling unleashes an astonishing amount of clarity and fine detail. Lustig talks about about one of the producers who kept harping during filming about the movie being too dark for home video, but the director is right to groan; that's not even a little bit of a concern here. Its colors are flawlessly rendered, contrast is dead-on, and the image holds up perfectly under low light. The filmic texture is extremely tight and generally unintrusive, making for some of the most gorgeous looking film grain I've come across on Blu-ray. The skillful AVC encoding is more than up to the challenge of reproducing that grain accurately too. I couldn't spot any digital sputters or stutters anywhere throughout Maniac Cop 2, and the image is similarly free of any
Maniac Cop 2 arrives on a dual layer Blu-ray disc at the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
I'm similarly in awe of Maniac Cop 2's 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, presented here in 7.1. I'm admittedly a couple speakers shy of being able to take full advantage, but even in 5.1, I'm completely blown away. The distinctness and clarity of every last element in the mix is deeply impressive, and every bit of it is perfectly balanced. The multichannel remix is world-class, seizing hold of every available speaker. There's a really strong sense of separation across channels, a slew of smooth pans and discrete effects drop me right in the middle of the action, and the low-end is every bit as punchy and throaty as Maniac Cop 2 demands. There's nothing for me to grouse or groan about here either, again trumping my highest expectations.
Maniac Cop 2 also includes two lossy soundtracks: a Dolby stereo surround track (256kbps) and a Dolby Digital 5.1-EX remix (640kbps). There are a couple of other audio options as well, but I'll get into those a little later. This Blu-ray disc also offers a sprawling selection of eighteen different subtitle streams. No matter what side of the planet you're on or what language you happen to speak, I can pretty much guarantee that you're covered. There's even support for D-Box bass shaker rigs.
Maniac Cop 2 comes packaged in an embossed slipcover, and this combo pack has an anamorphic widescreen DVD riding shotgun as well.
The Final Word
With millions of dollars to play with and all the creative freedom they could hope for, Bill Lustig and Larry Cohen set out to make Maniac Cop 2 the ultimate B-movie. That's precisely what it is, too: an 87 minute whirlwind of blood-spattered action and jaw-dropping stuntwork. This is a movie I love enough to recommend no matter how the rest of the package had turned out, but a breathtakingly gorgeous presentation and a strong slate of extras make Maniac Cop 2 that much more of an essential purchase for anyone with a taste for cult cinema. Very, very Highly Recommended.