Blu-ray Review “Maniac Cop 2 & 3”

maniaccop2Starring: Robert Davi, Claudia Christian, Bruce Campbell, Michael Lerner, Robert Z’Dar, Clarence Williams III, Caitlin Dulany, Gretchen Becker, Julius Harris, Doug Savant
Director: William Lustig, Alan Smithee
MPAA Rating: R / Not Rated
Studio: Blue Underground
DVD Release Date: November 19, 2013
Run Time: 90 / 85 minutes

“Maniac Cop 2” Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of 5 stars
“Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence”: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I was a kid, I remember walking down the video store aisle and seeing the box for “Maniac Cop” and just being freaked out. When I finally got up enough courage to watch it, I just fell in love with it. What is great about this series is that sequels are just as good as the original film (if not better). “Manic Cop 2” has always been my favorite in the series. Even though Bruce Campbell is one of my all-time favorites, the second film is a much more solid film. They took what made the first film great and improved it. The third film, “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” is just an all out hoot. It is over-the-top and in-your-face. I just love this film also.

“Maniac Cop 2” Official Premise: The Maniac Cop series’ first sequel pits Matt Cordell (Robert Z’dar), the crazed, murderous “Maniac Cop” of the first film (now horribly disfigured after a particularly brutal stay in prison), and Turkel (Leo Rossi), a serial killer who likes to murder strippers, against a frenzied NYPD detective, Sean McKinney (Robert Davi), who is just one step ahead of a nervous breakdown.

“Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” Official Premise: When Officer Kate Sullivan storms a hostage situation, the whole incident is captured on tape by an unscrupulous media crew who edit the footage to show Kate killing a helpless victim. Now in a coma, Kate’s only hope is Detective Sean McKinney, who desperately tries to clear her name. But unbeknownst to him, Maniac Cop Matt Cordell takes it upon himself to exact revenge upon those responsible for smearing her name.

When I see that a Blu-ray is being releasing a film, I immediately pay attention because these guys do not mess around. More importantly they release great films and give them even better releases. These are films that are not given any love by big studios and yet deserve it. Honestly, I was just speechless when I read that “Maniac Cop 2” and “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” were going to be hitting Blu-ray with, not just a shitty transfer but a brand new high-definition transfer taken from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative. I mean as a horror fan, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

Here is what makes it all worth it, since both “Maniac Cop 2” and “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” look absolutely maniaccop3stunning with their 1080p transfers. They really nailed it. I am sure that any horror fan will easily agree with me. These films are dark and gritty and yet they look sharp and fantastic still today. If you think that is enough, “Maniac Cop 2” impresses even more with an out-of-this-world DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, which is a complete home run. Also included are additional audio tracks including a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Dolby Digital 2.0, and an Isolated Music Track boasting an amazing DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

“Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” includes two audio tracks on this Blu-ray release, even though it is not 7.1, the included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is literally outstanding, I would have never expected this film to get such treatment honestly. Also included is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” includes the Unrated Version of the film, which is a nice bonus. Both “Maniac Cop 2” and “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” are released as Collector’s Edition combo packs with both Blu-ray + DVD included.

If you are happy with all of the above, there is still more since “Maniac Cop 2” includes some amazing special features. Along with the above mentioned Isolated Music Score, there are four various international trailers from the film. “Back on the Beat – The Making of Maniac Cop 2” is a brand new over 45 minutes behind-the-scenes featurette on the production the film. There are new interviews with director William Lustig, writer Larry Cohen, actors Robert Davi, Claudia Christian, Michael Lerner, Leo Rossi, Robert Z’Dar and more. There is a Cinefamily Q&A with Director William Lusti, which was filmed after a screening in September of 2012 and runs about 30 minutes.

But saving the best for last, there is a brand new audio commentary with director William Lustig and Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”, “Only God Forgives”). If you are a fan of this film you are not going to want to miss this track, it is so informative and interesting, I am actually planning on revisiting track quite soon. Rounding out the extras as a fantastic Poster and Still Gallery including posters, advertising materials, lobby cards, color stills, B&W stills, behind the scenes stills, deleted Sam Raimi scene, and VHS covers.

“Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” also includes a great collection of extras as well. First we have “Wrong Arm of the Law: The Making of Maniac Cop 3”, which is a fantastic look into the making of the film. Also included are interviews with writer Larry Cohen, director of photography Jacques Haitkin, stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, actors Robert Davi, Robert Z’Dar, Caitlin Dulany, and Gretchen Becker. There are seven deleted and extended scenes included. Lastly there is the original trailer for “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” as well as a Poster & Still Gallery. Horror fans do not miss these two releases!

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