• Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence

    Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence
    Released by: Blue Underground
    Released on: November 19th, 2013.
    Director: Alan Smithee
    Cast: Robert Davi, Robert Z’Dar, Caitlin Dulany, Gretchen Becker, Robert Forster
    Year: 1992
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    The Movie:

    The final installment (to date at least) of the Maniac Cop series, Badge Of Silence finds a practitioner of the occult (Julius Harris) responsible for resurrecting Officer Matt Cordell, the same Maniac Cop that knocked off Bruce Campbell and Richard Roundtree in the first two films. No small task, if you ask me. I don’t think many of us could beat Ash or Shaft in a fight, so you’ve gotta hand it to ol’ Matt. He’s tough. And at this point in the franchise, he’s basically an unstoppable killing machine.

    At any rate, with it established that Cordell is from the dead, he does what any self-respecting re-animated psychopath would do and that’s to start stalking the corrupt doctors and politicians who are getting in the way of real police justice. Meanwhile, there are issues in the NYPD. It turns out that a lovely officer named Kate Sullivan (Gretchen Becker) lies in a coma and has been wrongly accused of botching up a hostage situation (watch for Jackie Earle Haley in this scene!) and it’s these very same corrupt officials and doctors that are setting her up for a fall. Sound familiar? Like maybe they’re doing to her what they did to Cordell years back?

    The only one who can help Gretchen is Lt. Sean McKinney (played once more by the stern faced Robert Davi) and once he’s up to date on the situation and the conspiracy surrounding it, he’s off and running to clear her name. With some help from Dr. Susan Fowler (Caitlyn Delany), McKinney has also got to do whatever he can to stop the Maniac Cop from killing more people, both innocent and guilty.

    Though very obviously the lesser of the three Maniac Cop pictures by a pretty wide margin, Badge Of Silence, like the earlier two films, is still grossly entertaining. While neither this entry nor the second film is as good as the original film, they’re still a lot of fun and this installment is no exception. Co-directed by William Lustig (Maniac, Vigilante) and Joel Soisson (more on that in the extras…), the film is a fun action/horror hybrid that delivers lots of low budget fun. It starts off more or less like a slasher picture, the way that the first movie did, and then switches gears in the last half to ramp up the action the way that the second movie did. Once again we get some great stunt work, some excellent carnage with loads of great old fashioned squib effects, and the hulking presence of Robert Z’dar to keep things interesting.

    It’s choppy, edited in strange ways and nonsensical even by the fairly ridiculous standards of the series but go into this one with your expectations in check and there are plenty of cheap thrills on hand. Sure, the voodoo priest only exists in the movie to get Cordell out of his grave and yeah, you can tell which scenes Lustig directed because they work a whole lot better than those that were handled by producer Joel Soisson but Davi is once again a lot of fun in the role and hey, we even get a gratuitous Robert Forster cameo too. Violent, quirky and enjoyable enough this is far from a classic but if you dug the first two movies you can have fun with this final shot.

    The movie was previously released on DVD from Platinum in its the R-rated cut, which was rimmed of some of the violence that earned the film an NC-17 rating when initially submitted for classification. This presentation from Blue Underground is the uncut version.


    Maniac Cop arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. This is a crisp, sharp and detailed image that boasts excellent colors and pretty strong black levels as well but at the same time this is a surprisingly dark film so it isn’t as colorful as the earlier pictures are simply because much of it takes place indoors and often at night. The disc is well authored there and there are no compression artifacts or edge enhancement problems noticeable with the clean source used for the transfer. Grain is present but never overpowering and there are no issues with noise reduction. All in all, the movie looks pretty great.

    The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is the only lossless option on the disc but we also get English options in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound EX and Dolby Surround 2.0. Optional subtitles are provided in Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish and closed captioning is provided in English.

    The lossless mix here is a good one, with nice depth and some decent surround activity. Most of the dialogue still comes from the front of the mix, but the score and effects make nice use of the surrounds during the more action oriented scenes. Levels are nicely balanced throughout and there’s not a trace of hiss or distortion to note. Dialogue stays clear while bass response has just enough punch to it to matter without ever burying anything.

    Extras kick off with an excellent featurette entitled Wrong Arm Of The Law, which clocks in at about twenty-five minutes. Here director William Lustig talks in no uncertain terms about what went wrong on this picture and why he walked off the set during production. Soisson pops up here too and offers up his side of the story and we also get input from writer Larry Cohen and actors Robert Davi, Robert Z’dar, Gretchen Becker and Caitlyn Delany too as well as Jacques Haitkin, who worked on the movie as director of photography. This is the best extra on the disc, it’s well edited and pretty comprehensive and it lies to rest the rumors that have long surrounded the movie and the issues that plagued it during production. Spiro Razatos, the stunt coordinator from Maniac Cop 2, also pops up here and once again offers some great ‘how’d they do that’ stories about the more dangerous scenes in the movie.

    Rounding out the extras is a collection of seven deleted scenes, a trailer for the feature, a still gallery of promotional stills, behind the scenes material and home video art, and a copy of Larry Cohen’s original script (which seems to have been more or less thrown out the window before the cameras started rolling). As this release is a combo pack release, it comes with a DVD version of the movie included as well. All of this fits into your standard Blu-ray case but that case fits nicely inside an embossed slipcase.

    The Final Word:

    Some might say that Blue Underground has given Maniac Cop 3 better treatment than it deserves but to this reviewer’s tastes, as goofy as all of this is, it’s still a pretty entertaining movie, warts and all. The audio and video quality are top notch and while this doesn’t have the quantity of extras that makes their release of Maniac Cop 2 so essential, it does offer up a great featurette that settles the score on the movie’s problems once and for all.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I watched this today. Very disappointing, but then I remember it being disappointing when it came out on VHS back in the 1990s. It's unfocused and lacks a sense of cohesion, though there are some great performances (Davi, Haley, Forster, etc). Also, the scope photography adds nothing to the film: in fact, I think it works to the detriment of the film, which needed a more intimate sense of composition.The featurette is fascinating. Larry Cohen's original synopsis, which is included on this disc, would have worked much better, I think: it's got some great ideas in it, and the ending is very good - though it was probably too off-kilter for the production company.
    1. Scott's Avatar
      Scott -
      I like this movie but I agree, Paul, it's parts are better than the sum. It never really comes together. Part 2 is fantastic movie, better than Part 1 IMO, and for a while it was one of my favorite movies. Part 3 is feels kinda ho-hum in comparison. I got the old cheap-o dvd but I'd love to read Cohen's original synopsis but I probably won't pick this up.
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
      I like this movie but I agree, Paul, it's parts are better than the sum. It never really comes together. Part 2 is fantastic movie, better than Part 1 IMO, and for a while it was one of my favorite movies. Part 3 is feels kinda ho-hum in comparison. I got the old cheap-o dvd but I'd love to read Cohen's original synopsis but I probably won't pick this up.
      Agreed completely on the second film, Scott: I've long been a fan of that one, ever since it hit VHS. The Blue Underground Blu-ray release of MANIAC COP 2 really impressed me: for the first time on home video, the photography really shone through. It's such a well-shot film, something every other home video release has obscured. There's a great documentary too.