Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Maniac Cop 2 - review

I love Maniac Cop.  I know Matt Cordell is not a name that crops up as often as Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, but it should.  This series offered a nice action/horror hybrid slasher alternative to teens getting diced at summer camp and you cant go wrong with a cast like Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins all rolled up in one movie.  The first movie in the series is great and well worth checking out, but as much as I love it things tend to get bogged down in police procedure and laying out Matt Cordells origin story; its like the great mouthwatering salad and appetizer you get before the main course.  Plus Atkins dies in it and I dont know if I dig that.  Things dont really get rolling until the end of the flick.  So when I get into my Maniac Cop mode I usually skip the croutons and delve right into the main course; Maniac Cop 2.

Maniac Cop 2 is one of the best action/horror hybrid movies I can name off hand, probably the best of the stalk and slash golden era.  It begins by recounting the final moments of the last movie, which happen to be the best moments from the last movie so no complaints, and then there are some nice tracking shots of a junkyard full of smashed police patrol vehicles for ambiance.  Matt Cordell is back on the beat in no time, claiming revenge on Bruce Campbell for refusing to be the patsy from the first movie.  He kills him with his trademark bayonet/night stick combo; a blind newspaper salesman touches his hand and says it brings him right back to WWIII, hiding from Nazis under the bodies of the frozen dead.  I really dug that the old codger had more to say than youre all doomed; casting no shade on Crazy Ralph but it was a nice change.

Next Cordell targets Bruces girlfriend from the first film; Mallory, a fiery blonde who knows Matt is still alive but cant convince the newly appointed commissioner and police chief hes anything but a ghost (again).  When she hears of her boyfriends demise she wisely choses to get the hell out of town; but Matt somehow cuts the brakes on a taxi she is taking, which leads to a cool extended car chase.  Eventually the cars crash and come to a stop, and in the fray Mallory gets her hands on a chainsaw by raiding a local hardware store.  It proves ineffectual against Cordells deadly grip; he stops the chainsaw dead in its tracks by simply grabbing the chain and then casually snaps Mallorys neck.  The revenge is complete; the cult stars of the prior movie are left dead in the street. 

However Mallory had a passenger in her taxi, a police psychologist that miraculously survives when Matt hand cuffs her to a runaway car and now knows the truth of his existence, a fact the city officials would rather ignore.  She gets help from a hard-boiled detective named McKinney, who is also chasing a serial killer targeting strippers named Turkell.  I just realized Turkell was the same actor as Budd from Halloween 2, his acting was so spot on as a scummy serial killer with a Southern draw, I had trouble connecting the two.  When Cordell goes after the same victim as Turkell the two strike up an impromptu friendship with secret handshakes and inside jokes only maniac serial killers would get.   Then they have a slumber party and pillow fight.  These things happen.

Turkell is caught by Detective McKinney, and soon Cordell comes to his rescue, massacring an entire police station in the process.  Working his way back from the gun range the Maniac Cop brutally dispatches all police he sees, much like the T-800 in the original Terminator he seems unstoppable, impervious to bullets, full rage mode engaged.  Matt looks more zombified in this movie as well, suggesting that he truly is an undead being, a force that cannot be stopped, rather than a cop with bad acne and brain damage.

Turkell thinks Matt is looking for a full on revolution against the police, releasing prisoners and causing a riot; next stop Sing-Sing.  Cordell seems to be along for the ride until the commissioner admits to any wrong doing against him, confessing his part in the corruption that led to Matts death, promising him an honorable burial and for his name to be cleared once and for all.  Upon hearing this Cordell switches gears and goes after the prisoners who cut him up in the first place; even while engulfed in flames he shows no sign of stopping in his pursuit of revenge.  Turkell realizes he is not the key to the revolution he hoped for and stabs him in the back with his own bayonet.  Cordell grabs Turkell, and the two go careening through a cement wall into a bus that explodes on impact.

In the end Cordell is finally given an honorable funeral service and his name is cleared, but as the funeral winds down a white gloved hand smashes through his casket lid to grab his badge.  Cordell lives!  Maniac Cop 2 raises the stakes in every way a sequel should while maintaining solid continuity with the entry before it, a rare instance in slasherdom.  The action scenes are top notch, and the cast is pretty solid as well, great acting all around, another rarity for these kinds of deals.  Even the Maniac Cop is given a nice story arc of revenge and redemption and there is even a theme song at the end; so what are you waiting for lovejoy, add Maniac Cop 2 to your slasher collection today!