DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


William Lustig
Robert Davi, Claudia Christian, Michael Lerner
Writing Credits:
Larry Cohen

A supernatural maniac killer cop teams up with a Times Square serial killer.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Dolby 5.1 EX
English Dolby 2.0
French Canadian
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 11/19/2013

• Audio Commentary with Director William Lustig and Filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn
• Isolated Music Track
• “Back on the Beat” Featurette
• Q&A With Director William Lustig
• Deleted Scene
• Location Stills
• 4 Trailers


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Maniac Cop 2 [Blu-Ray] (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 28, 2021)

When I last inspected the efforts of director William Lustig, I took in 1982’s Vigilante about a year ago. That one left me cold, but I figured I’d give Lustig another shot via 1990’s Maniac Cop 2.

A sequel to 1988’s Maniac Cop, Cop 2 picks up right where the first film concluded. In that story, troubled former cop Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar) worked in his police uniform as he committed brutal crimes, mostly in an attempt to exact warped justice for wrongs done to him.

Though apparently deceased, Cordell remains along the living – sort of, as he seems to have supernatural powers that leave him as neither truly alive nor dead. Cordell gets back to his violent ways and teams up with serial killer Steven Turkell (Leo Rossi) while various authorities led by Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) and police psychologist Susan Riley (Claudia Christian) attempt to halt his rampage.

As noted earlier, Cop 2 represented my first experience with a Lustig film since I watched Vigilante a year earlier. Prior to that, I saw 1980’s Maniac back in late 2018.

I’ll say this for Lustig: he got better as he went. Though apparently a cult classic, I thought Maniac offered an amateurish bore. Vigilante didn’t do much for me either, but at least it demonstrated a level of competence and professionalism absent from Maniac.

Without question, Cop 2 plays more like a “real movie” than either of its predecessors, though I can’t compare it to the original Maniac Cop. I never saw that one, so Cop 2 offered my first entry into the franchise.

Cop 2 won’t make anyone think it comes from a master filmmaker, but it seems more than competent as a movie. Unlike Maniac and Vigilante, Cop 2 demonstrates fairly good pacing, as it builds the narrative and tension in a gradual, logical manner.

Well, for a while, at least. Through its first half, Cop 2 develops in an efficient, compelling manner, but it starts to lose its way during the subsequent 45 minutes or so.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Cop 2 gets less interesting when it introduces Turkell. Rossi does fine in the cliché role, so I don’t blame him, and I understand why the filmmakers wanted to add a villain with more personality than the lumbering, essentially silent Cordell.

Cop 2 largely acts like a slasher movie, and Cordell comes firmly from the Jason Voorhees/Michael Myers school of voiceless/emotionless psychopaths. When Turkell enters the picture, the story gets the ability to have baddies with actual verbal interaction.

Nonetheless, the narrative loses its way somewhat once this occurs – what “narrative” we find, that is. Cop 2 doesn’t offer what one would term a “plot-heavy” film, as it basically just follows the slasher movie template I mentioned, one in which a crazy dude commits murders and others attempt to stop him.

Cop 2 does offer a semi-clever twist based on Cordell’s desire to take out his former police colleagues. The tale also complicates matters with some backstory that semi-justifies Cordell’s violent ways.

Those moments aside, Cop 2 basically sticks to the horror movie template, and it does okay in that regard. As noted, it loses some steam during its second half, though even then, it musters moderate engagement.

A surprisingly talented cast helps. In addition to Davi, Christian and Rossi, we get solid actors like Bruce Campbell, Michael Lerner, Clarence Williams III, Charles Napier and others. They add a layer of credibility to the film it would lack with a less notable group.

Ultimately, I can’t claim Maniac Cop 2 becomes a great – or particularly good – genre effort. Nonetheless, it fares better than expected and turns into a moderately compelling mix of thriller and horror.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B+

Maniac Cop 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the movie’s age and low-budget origins, this became a surprisingly solid presentation.

For the most part, sharpness satisfied. Occasional wider shots seemed a little soft, but the majority of the flick appeared pretty accurate and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. With plenty of grain, I suspect no overzealous use of noise reduction, and print flaws remained absent.

Cop 2 opted for a fairly natural palette, albeit one that leaned toward the blue and/or amber/orange side of the street. Within those parameters, the hues looked well-portrayed and accurate.

Blacks felt deep and dark, while shadows offered nice delineation. This turned into a wholly appealing rendition of the film.

On the other hand, I found the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack less consistent. Remixed from the original 1990 stereo, the soundscape tended to work too hard to match modern standards.

By that I mean the 7.1 mix went a little overboard in the way it used the surround channels. While the forward speakers demonstrated fairly positive spread and delineation, the back channels played too much of a role in the proceedings.

This meant music from the surrounds felt a little too loud, as did some effects. For the most part, the soundfield seemed acceptable, but I thought it should’ve stayed closer to the stereo source, as the new track didn’t integrate as well as I’d like.

Audio quality felt dated but decent, as speech seemed reasonably natural and concise. A little edginess bled into the track at times, but most lines seemed well-rendered.

Music showed nice range and impact, while effects were fairly accurate. Though those elements occasionally betrayed some distortion, they worked well in general. This wasn’t a bad track but I think a more subdued soundfield would’ve blended better with the on-screen action.

As we shift to extras, we find an audio commentary from director William Lustig and filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, stunts and action, and related domains.

I liked the two prior Lustig commentaries I heard, and this one continues that trend. Best-known as the director of 2011’s Drive, Refn generally acts as interviewer, and he does well in that regard.

Refn pushes Lustig to dig into various topics – not that Lustig seems to need a lot of encouragement, as he proves blunt much of the time. This becomes a consistently informative and engaging discussion.

Another audio feature runs alongside the film via an Isolated Music Track. It gives us the movie’s whole score in its DTS-HD MA 2.0 glory.

A documentary called Back on the Beat goes for 46 minutes, 52 seconds and brings notes from Lustig, writer Larry Cohen, special makeup effects creator Dean Gates, stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, composer Jay Chattaway and actors Robert Davi, Claudia Christian, Michael Lerner, Leo Rossi. and Robert Z’Dar.

“Beat” looks at the movie’s roots and development, story/characters, cast and performances, makeup effects, sets and locations, stunts and action, music, and the movie’s release/reception.

Given the quality of the commentary, some of that material inevitably repeats here. Nonetheless, “Beat” offers a solid overview of the production, and it benefits from the additional participants involved.

Next comes a Q&A with Director William Lustig. Shot in September 2012, it spans 28 minutes, 35 seconds and examines sets and locations, stunts and action, cast and performances, story and characters, and post-production.

After the commentary and the documentary, Lustig left few stones unturned, and that means we find little new information from the Q&A. Objectively, Lustig gives a likeable chat, but he doesn’t produce much material that we don’t find elsewhere.

One deleted scene lasts one minute, 31 seconds. Called “The Evening News with Sam Raimi”, it shows a short glimpse of Raimi as a TV anchor.

The clip also shows comments from New Yorkers about the Maniac Cop. It’s cool to see Raimi briefly, but it doesn’t offer anything noteworthy as a scene.

In addition to four trailers, we get a Poster & Still Gallery with 201 images. It mixes ads, promo materials and shots from the set. It presents some good shots, though it’d be more user-friendly if it split into a few separate galleries and not one huge compilation.

At least one Easter Egg appears here. If you click to the left of any options on the “Extras” screen and click “enter”, you’ll find a two-minute, 40-second featurette that includes notes from Davi, Lustig, Lerner, Rossi and Z’Dar. It’s basic promotional fluff.

As a low-budget genre sequel, Maniac Cop 2 does nothing to stand high above its brethren. Nonetheless, it winds up as a reasonably interesting effort, as some intriguing plot points and a strong cast bolster it. The Blu-ray comes with surprisingly good picture and a nice mix of bonus materials, but I feel less enthusiastic about the over-active 7.1 remix. Even with that minor drawback, this turns into a high-quality release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main