CD Review: Bad Cop Bad Cop “Warriors”

Bad Cop/Bad Cop
Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 11

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s been a hectic few years since Los Angeles punk quartet Bad Cop/Bad Cop dropped their debut full-length, “Not Sorry”. The band spent a huge chunk of their intervening time on the road like many bands do and in that time wound-up discovering some ugly things about themselves. Out of those experiences came a number of tracks which make up the band lasts release titled “Warriors”, the bands third album which features 11 new tracks which are once again being released via Fat Wreck Chords.

If the song titles and lyrics are just a glancing look at what was going on with Bad Cop/Bad Cop over the last few years it’s a miracle this album even happened at all. Thankfully things smoothed out with the four piece as the group’s latest offering “Warriors” is a gritty and searing album brimming over with pop-punk infused goodness making for a fun and enjoyable listen. Tracks like the albums opener “Retrograde” instantly had me moving with its sparkling guitar intro and catchy sing along chorus while songs like “Amputation”, “Wild Me” and the album’s title track “Warriors all hit with similar results.

Bad Cop/Bad Cop are living proof that good can come out of a bad situation and the group’s latest offering “Warriors” is a fitting testament to that statement. The band sounds better than ever and each of the albums 11 tracks has the potential to get stuck in your head for long periods of time. I found myself listening to the album multiple times and with each listen I was able to find something new to enjoy each and every.

Track Listing:
1.) Retrograde
2.) I’m Done
3.) Womanarchist
4.) Why Change A Thing
5.) Victoria
6.) Amputations
7.) Broken
8.) Wild Me
9.) Warriors
10.) Kids
11.) Brain Is For Lovers

Blu-ray Review “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”

Starring: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Neal McDonough, Shirley Knight, Eduardo Verástegui, D.B. Woodside
Director: Andy Fickman
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 14, 2015

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

There is no denying that Kevin James is talented. He has his moments where he is quite funny. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was a decent film at best but it never warranted a sequel. Even though I love Vegas, this film was a complete waste of time and really unnecessary. Just like “Grown Ups 2,” another film that James was in that wasn’t needed. Still though, if you liked the first film you might, stress might, enjoy this film.

Official Premise: In this sequel, in which Kevin James reprises the role of Paul Blart, the security guard is headed to Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo with his teenage daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) before she departs for college. While at the convention, he inadvertently discovers a heist – and it’s up to Blart to apprehend the criminals.

The Blu-ray comes with a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet copy included. The 1080p transfer is sharp, courtesy of Sony who consistently delivers impressive releases. Even though not a film needed to be mastered in 4K, Sony definitely takes pride in their Blu-ray transfers. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds good and works well even with the cheesy action.

The special features are nothing special but include a gag reel, some deleted scenes, and a few very short features. The first is “Security Force: The Cast of Paul Blart 2” has cast chatting about the sequel. “Back in the Saddle” discusses the use of the Segway back in this film. “How to Make a Movie” is a chat with the director Andy Fickman. “Le Reve” introduces the Vegas location into the mix. “No Animals Were Harmed” looks into the bird fight scene. Lastly there is a photo gallery included and trailers.

Blu-ray Review “Maniac Cop 2 & 3”

Starring: 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 stunning 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!

Robert Z’Dar reflects on the cult status of the “Maniac Cop” series

Robert Z’Dar is known best for playing the role of Matt Cordell in the cult series “Maniac Cop”. Robert took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his films and also what he is currently working on.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the cult status of the “Maniac Cop” series?
Robert Z’Dar: It’s been amazing. When the first 2 films were released here in the states theatrically it was great. Going to places like the airport people would know who I was but they didn’t know my name. It was kind of funny. They would say “there’s that guy”. I still sign a lot of autographs these days. We got introduced to a whole generation recently that loves the films. Over the last 3 years this whole new cult following has been established.

MG: Can you tell us any stories from the production of the films?
RZ: While we were working on “Maniac Cop 2” I was on set the first day of shooting and we were in thiswarehouse. I was reading while the other cast was eating because I couldn’t really talk or anything as a slit hadn’t been cut into the mouth of my makeup. Robert Davi goes over and says that he doesn’t think there’s a hole in mouth and that they should probably feed the maniac because he looked like he was going to kill somebody. I go over mumbling asking if they are going to cut a hole in my mouth or was I going to have to kill them. Everyone started laughing and the makeup crew came over and gave me a slit so I could eat and talk.

MG: Were you approached to do a 4th film?
RZ: Yes, they wanted me to do a 4th one however I can’t do all the same stunts I used to be able to do. I did all my own stuff except for the burn scenes in the first films. I had been with the American Stunt Association for about 15 years. That’s probably why I am so banged up now. I have two metal hips and now they want to give me a metal shoulder. As I was about to do the film I was diagnosed with neck cancer. I was given about a 35% chance to live. I did a lot of praying prior to my treatments and everything went really well. The doctor couldn’t believe how well I have healed. As of right now I am cancer free. I am getting back in to shape and I have a bunch of movies that I am ready to start work on.

MG: What are your thoughts on the proposed “Maniac Cop” remake?
RZ: Everybody wants so much money for the rights. Greed has gotten the best of a lot of people and that’s the reason why there haven’t been more films in the series.

MG: What do you like most about working in the horror genre?
RZ: I have done 4 or 5 horror films. I seem to play a lot of bad guys. Over the past 5 years or so I have gotten some really great roles in some independent films. There is one called “Precious Mettle” which is in the process of securing financing. The film is a great dramatic, who done it? type film. I play a firefighter whose buddy is killed. It has a number of twists and turns. The cast is made up of quite a few well known old school actors.

MG: What do you think has been your most challenging role to
RZ: Every movie I do I try to pull something that will showcase my craft while at the same time entertaining people. However my biggest challenge was beating cancer.

MG: What other things do you have going on?
RZ: I did a film called “Drummer for the Mob” which was produced by Bruce Koehler. The film has some great locations that are old mob type places. William Forsythe is in the film and he is just such a great actor. That film should be coming out sometime in the fall of this year. I also have one called “Ring of Fire” that is in the works as well. There is just a bunch of stuff going on right now. I really love my work.

Blu-ray Review “Stallone Three-Film Collector’s Set (Rambo: First Blood / Cop Land / Lock Up)”

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Peter Berg, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro
Number of discs: 3
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Running Time: 327 minutes

3-Film Collection: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With Stallone being a hot topic with “The Expendables 2” in theaters, Lionsgate Home Entertainment is bundling together three films from the iconic action star’s career, including: “Rambo: First Blood (1982)”, “Lock Up (1989)” and “Cop Land: The Director’s Cut (1997)”.  As much as I love Rambo, I would really have another great 80’s Stallone film like “Over the Top” in its place here.  Also as great of a film, “Cop Land” is I also would have like to see them include only 80’s Stallone.  Nonetheless at least the Director’s Cut of the film is included.  If you are looking for a dose of Stallone to get you psyched for “The Expendables 2”, you should definitely check out this release…especially for it’s low cost.  Now Lionsgate…one question, where is volume two?

“Cop Land” shows Sylvester Stallone in a different light in this edgy crime thriller sharing the screen with all-star cast – including Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta. Stallone plays Freddy Heflin, the sheriff of a small and seemingly peaceful town until he uncovers a massive, deadly conspiracy among these local residents and is forced to make a dangerous choice between protecting his friends and upholding the law.  We all know that one of Stallone’s best roles is John Rambo. In “First Blood”, he stars as the ex-Green Beret haunted by memories of Vietnam. When Rambo becomes the target of a massive manhunt, he must use all his combat skills and weapons training to stay alive and outwit his pursuers.  “Lock Up” stars Stallone as Frank Leone as he enters Gateway Prison, a nightmare jail where every minute is hard time. Leone goes head-to-head with the warden, who will stop at nothing to get him, in order to survive.

The three-disc package presents each title in its original aspect ratio – 2.39:1 for “First Blood” and 1.85:1 for “Lock Up” and “Cop Land”. Each title also comes packed with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 EX tracks.  Believe it or not I feel that “First Blood” and “Lock Up” are a tie for the film that looks the best.  Funny how they are also older than 1997’s “Cop Land”.  Nonetheless the presentations are impressive all around.  “Cop Land” steals the best audio track of the pack, followed by “First Blood” in a close second and “Lock Up” in third.

The special features are jam packed with goodies.  “First Blood” features two audio commentary tracks from Stallone and novelist David Morrell.  There is a featurette called “Drawing First Blood”, is an impressive making-of documentary running just over 20 minutes. There are about 5 minutes  of deleted scenes including the controversial alternate ending.  Lastly there is a trivia track including.  With “Lock Up” there is a brief but decent making-of featurett. “Sylvester Stallone Profile” features interviews with Stallone in addition to behind the scenes footage of the cast and crew.  There is a behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews with the cast within a collection of raw clips.  Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.  Lastly “Cop Land”  includes a great commentary track with writer/director James Mangold, producer Cathy Konrad, and actors Sylvester Stallone & Robert Patrick.  There are two short deleted scenes with optional commentary by Mangold, Stallone and Konrad.  “Cop Land: The Making of an Urban Western” is a basic behind-the-scenes featurette, topping off at almost 15 minutes.  Lastly there is a short “Storyboard Comparison” piece, running under 2 minutes.

“The Town” Cop Back in Town: Titus Welliver in Boston

Titus Welliver, who played one of Boston’s finest in “The Town,” was back in his old neighborhood yesterday to honor Warner Home Video’s Blu-ray Ultimate Collector’s Edition release of “The Town Take 2,” Ben Affleck’s brand new version of his hit drama about a Boston bank robbery. Sal LaMattina, Boston City Councilor representing Mayor Menino renamed Avery Street as The Town Take 2 Place, and a one-time only theatrical screening followed the renaming at AMC Loews Boston Common. Warner execs — EVP Jeff Baker, himself a Boston native, and VP Ronnee Sass — greeted Welliver. Welliver also played cops in “Man on a Ledge” and Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone” and will next be seen in TV’s “Touch” (with Kiefer Sutherland) and Affleck’s new film “Argo.”

Blu-ray Review “Maniac Cop”

Directed by: William Lustig
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, Robert Z’Dar
Distributed by: Synapse Films
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 85 minutes

Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I remember seeing “Manic Cop” in the late 80’s and it scaring the crap out of me.  It doesn’t anymore but it is still a damn great film.  The genre cast is the film is so great and fits so well.  The gore in the film is fantastic and definitely holds up in today’s standards.  This release is the first time this film is being presented in high definition and is released from up-and-coming Blu-ray studio Synapse Films.

The film hits the streets of New York City where innocent people are being brutally murdered by police officer. A Young copy, Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) is being framed for the murders and had to clear his name.  With the help of his friends Theresa (Laurene Landon) and McCrae (Tom Atkins) they set to find who the killer is before he strikes again.  Bruce Campbell is fantastic in the film and genre favorite Tom Atkins is perfect for the role.  Robert Z’Dar also kicks some major ass and it is too bad you don’t get to see his face more until the end of the film.

I am very happy with the the Blu-ray transfer in 1080p and it looks really clear and crisp.  The soundtrack is really impressive boasting a fantastic DTS-HD MA 6.1.  If you are a fan of this film you will not be disappointed with this great release. The film is also packed with special features.  The first is “Maniac Cop Memories: Interview with Robert Z’Dar” which has him chat about his career and working on the film.  The next is “Out the Window:  Interview with Tom Atkins”, discussing his role in the role. “Three Minutes with Danny Hicks” talk about his role in the film as well.  There are three trailers, one being a French trailer, as well as two television spots and a Spanish radio spot.  There is also an series of images of promotional art backed from the film’s music.  Lastly included is additional footage filmed for Japanese TV, which focuses on the New York City Mayor character.