Maniac Cop 2 (1990)

Maniac Cop 2

Tagline: You have the right to remain silent forever…..Again!

Director: William Lustig

Writer: Larry Cohen

Starring: Robert Davi, Claudia Christian, Michael Lerner, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon, Robert Z’Dar, Clarence Williams III, Leo Rossi, Lou Bonacki, Paula Trickey, Charles Napier, Santos Morales, Robert Earl Jones, Andrew Hill Newman, Ángel Salazar, Hank Garrett, Sam Raimi, Danny Trejo, Bo Dietl, Barry Brenner, James Dixon

18 | 1hr 30min | Comedy, Horror

Budget: $4,000,000 (estimated)


Jason Lives! may had revitalised the slasher genre with its censor-defying brand of meta humour, but William Lustig‘s Maniac Cop 2 elevated it to a whole new level.

Robert Z’ Dar‘s Matt Cordell is perhaps the genre’s most underappreciated seek-and-destroy killer, an immovable and irrepressible brute, who in 1988‘s Maniac Cop, returned to enact vengeance on those city officials who had wronged him, and anyone else who happened to get in his way. Cordell was a zombified brute with superhuman strength who would careen off a New York dock to his seeming demise. But there was no way this character was going to be put to rest so easily. He simply had too much potential.

The last time he ever neglected to pay his parking ticket.

The series benefits from the involvement of writer/director duo William Lustig (Maniac) and Larry Cohen (The Stuff), low-budget maestros with a taste for grainy exploitation and sharp social commentary. Here they tackle the subject of police brutality with their tongues so firmly in their cheeks it sometimes leaves you speechless.

From the movie’s spectacularly schlocky opening, you know you’re in for something quite special. This a relentless exercise in the delightfully absurd that doesn’t rest for a second, and while the nature of the movie is very formulaic, it openly revels in that formula, while a plethora of heady quirks at the same time make it rather distinctive.

Wrestler Mick Foley would audition for the part of serial killer, Turkell.

One of those quirks comes in the form of serial killer Turkell (Leo Rossi) who during a spate of murders somehow becomes friends with our mute psycho, a bizarre dynamic which would never have crossed the minds of most writers, but which works wonderfully. Turkell has a taste for lap dancers and strikes a peculiar bond with Cordell, who plans to take his vengeance streak even further, first by disposing of the first movie’s protagonists Jack Forrest and Teresa Mallory, before finally claiming retribution on those prison thugs who scarred his face and left him for dead all those years ago.

On the punitive trail this time around is ’80s stalwart Robert Davi. He plays Detective Sean McKinney, a noirish cynic who takes the roll of the impossibly dismissive cop to a whole new level, until soon-to-be main squeeze Officer Susan Riley has a particularly brutal run-in with the maniac in question, resulting in one of the movie’s stand-out scenes.

Matt Cordell Shooting Practice

Cordell stars in an ad for popular children’s board game, Guess Who?

With high-speed car chases, hyperbolic store shoot-outs and the kind of cop station massacre that makes Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s T-800 look like a fairy struck down with the flu, this is breakneck violence at its most ludicrously infectious, with a comic book brutality that is hard to match. In true Hitchcockian fashion, the movie proves unpredictable in regards to who will succumb to the ceaseless destruction of our zombie in blue. Nobody is sacred in this movie. Except, of course, for Cordell himself, who in yet another genre nod lives to return from the grave in pure Voorhees fashion.

Best Kill

After a high speed chase involving Susan and Teresa, Cordell handcuffs the former to a tireless car and sends her careening along the highway. Seeing an opening, Teresa then attacks Cordell with a chainsaw, only for him to grab the weapon full throttle and throw it to the ground without suffering even a scratch. With Teresa now at our monster’s mercy, he grips her by the throat, brutally snapping her neck and throwing her lifeless body to the ground like a rag doll. 

Most Absurd Moment

Talk about setting the tone in the first 5 minutes! After a no good junkie holds up a convenience store, Matt Cordell appears on the scene, but instead of helping the store owner he uses the junkie’s gun to blow him away. Afterwards, he hands the murder weapon to the junkie and slips out the back, framing the thief and leaving him at the mercy of the arriving cops. Surrendering to the police, the junkie is then pumped with a barrage of rounds, dancing around for an eternity before finally being blown ten feet through a plate glass window.

Most Absurd Movie Reference

In a delicious nod to James Cameron‘s The Terminator, Cordell storms a police station, blowing away an entire fleet of cops during target practice. Walking through walls as if they’re not there, he then machine guns another two dozen cops to death, before sending the captain flying thirty feet across the room through three consecutive wooden beams and windows.

Arnie wouldn’t stand a chance.

Most Absurd Dialogue

Strolling through the graveyard with main squeeze Susan following Cordell’s funereal, the lovably cynical Detective McKinney offers a wry commentary on police brutality.

Detective Sean McKinney: There’s a piece of Cordell in every cop. Every time arresting some mutt isn’t enough, because we know they’ll be back on the streets before we even do the paperwork. Every time we pull a trigger and it feels good, because no lawyers can reverse that. It all comes down to justice and pressure. There’s only that much difference between a cop and a maniac cop.


rtape rtape rtape rtape rtape

Aliens, Terminator 2, and now William Lustig’s Maniac Cop 2, this is one of those rare sequels that arguably tops its antecedent. Bigger, brasher and wittier than the original, this is improbable meta-humour at its finest, while Robert  Z’Dar’s Matt Cordell takes comic book brutality to a whole new level. Acerbic exploitation that is a joy to behold.

Cedric Smarts

VHS Revival is a non-profit venture. Any donation, no matter how small, will help towards the site’s running costs and ultimately enable us to grow. Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.