Maniac Cop 2 (1990)
MANIAC COP 2
WRITER: Larry Cohen
DIRECTOR: William Lustig
STARRING: Robert Davi as Detective Sean McKinney
Claudia Christian as Susan Riley
Michael Lerner as Edward Doyle
Bruce Campbell as Jack Forrest
Laurene Landon as Teresa Mallory
Robert Z'Dar as Matt Cordell
Leo Rossi as Turkell
QUICK CUT: The heartwarming story of a disgraced cop making friends with a local loser that everyone looks down on, as they struggle to find their way in the crazy streets of New York City.
Jack - He's still not on the job after the events of the first movie, and that's all he wants. He needs to work, get back to things, and just find some normalcy. He'll do most anything to get back to it.
Teresa - Teresa is less will to do anything, and wants the truth to come out about Cordell and everything they went through. She will not go quietly into the lies or disbelief.
Detective McKinney - A determined detective, with a large chip on his shoulder, and more than his share of anger issues.
Susan Riley - A cop who works as a psychologist involved in clearing officers to get back on duty after firing their weapon, or heaven forbid, shooting someone. She's good at her job, but that just means she comes into conflict with her fellow officers who don't take too kindly to someone who doesn't serve on the streets telling them what to do. Being a woman does not help...
Turkell - A serial killer who targets strippers, and befriends Matt Cordell. He's a pervert, he's a chatterbox, and he loves to toy with people.
Cordell - The Maniac Cop himself, back from the dead, and in no hurry to get back there. He is a man of few words, but all about vengeance and righting wrongs, even if wrongs must be done to get there.
THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions! The kids are back in school, the air is getting cooler, and the leaves will be changing soon. I hope y'all had a good summer, and have checked out my foray into podcasting over at The Blood Stream, if you haven't already! Each week, I grab something at random that looks horrible or cheesy, and hopefully isn't, and then just sit and talk about it for half an hour. It's like Trisk for your earholes.
But over here in the main Trisk labs, I still watch the classic cheesy stuff, and this week it is back to the Maniac Cop franchise, with #2. It's also Force Friday, but we don't do Star Wars here. Instead this will be EXCESSIVE FORCE FRIDAY, courtesy of Matt Cordell! Bruce Campbell is back as Jack, and I can't wait to see his second confrontation with the nigh unstoppable Matt Cordell! So let's get into this!
We get started with a replay of the final scenes from the first movie, up to Cordell's death in the watery depths. I watched this 35 months ago!! But the bonus is, you get to watch Bruce Campbell be tossed around all over again! That never gets old.
After that little recap though, the movie wastes no time on getting to the action, as we start off with a robbery at a local bodega that gets quickly halted by the timely arrival of Cordell. Look, it COULD be some other cop wreaking havoc in his name, but I'll cut to the chase; Cordell survived and is back for vengeance.
But, since this is Cordell, his moral compass doesn't exactly point north, and while he stops the robbery, he does so in his own style. He clobbers the robber (HA!) but then shoots the clerk behind the counter. Then, he takes the criminal and shoves him out the door to be murdered by the cops, since they think he was the one doing all the shooting.
We fade over to the chief of police, and our heroes from the first movie and...this is a Christmas movie! Merry Christmas, everyone! But anyways, our heroes Jack and Teresa have been cleared of any wrong doing the last time around, and are ready to get back on duty, but they still have a psych eval to go through.
They also pay lip service to Cordell's body not being found, but we know he's alive already. But the commissioner isn't convinced it was EVER Cordell, because he died in Sing Sing years ago.
Jack and Terry meet with Doctor Riley to try and get cleared, and she points out that they don't REALLY know if it was Cordell. It could have been any big guy with a disfigured face. He never said who he was, and they have records of Cordell's death. And that's fairly reasonable to assume. Jack is more than willing to go along with the story if it will get him back to work, but Terry is less willing to lie.
We then meet Detective McKinney in most spectacular fashion as we see a guy fall from a window, bounce off a van, and get shot by him. The movie is definitely packing in the canon fodder!
McKinney is the next to go see Riley after shooting the guy, and his lovely confrontational manner is instantly set up when he lights a cigarette and THEN asks if he can smoke. At least he's polite enough to put it out. On his hand.
But enough setting up these minor characters! Let's get back to the star of the show, Jack! Can't wait for him to take on Cordell again! He stops by the local newsstand and picks up a bunch of papers about his heroism.
We also see Cordell walking with his signature whistling background music coming close. Aww yeah, we are gonna get the first confrontation nice and early here!!
The bad cop pulls a blade from his nightstick, which is an awesome dual weapon, comes up behind Jack and I can't wait for them to square o... WHAT. NO. HE STABBED JACK IN THE BACK. YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!
All joking aside, I love this twist of taking the hero from the last movie out. It makes your bad guy feel effective and a true threat, as he actually accomplishes a major goal. Plus, while movies like Friday the 13th do it all the time, they do it very quickly to get it out of the way. Maniac Cop 2 let it linger for almost 20 minutes, and you start to believe it will be Jack and Teresa all over again. Which also would have been just fine!
Teresa IDs the body, and McKinney treats her like a suspect. We also get some decent enough character stuff between him and Riley, and find out just why he hates psychiatrists so much.
But enough of that! Let's get back to more fun with Cordell! A guy is getting his car towed, when the Maniac Cop arrives to save the day, and hang the officer up for awhile.
That all leads to reports of a big scarred cop going around killing people, so I guess we've reached a point of Peak Corpse.
Also, Riley questions the blind newsstand owner, and he mentions how he touched Cordell ever so briefly when he killed Jack, and it reminded him of when he encountered the dead during the war.
Riley next stops by Teresa's apartment to talk, and they get in a cab to head to a tv studio where Terry is planning to go live and on the record about Cordell.
On the way, the cab encounters some trouble by the name of Matt Cordell. The driver gets out to check out the flat, and when Cordell shows up, Teresa steals the cab to try and get away. Cordell runs over the driver, and chases after them.
We get a decent car chase filled with plenty of thrills and sparks as the cab rides on its rim. The cars eventually crash, and Terry draws her gun. Cordell arrives, and she empties the entire clip point blank into his stomach, before flinging her through a shop window.
Cordell grabs Riley, and handcuffs her to the car, then shoves it down the hill, to let gravity and momentum do the work of killing her as it picks up speed. Eventually, she climbs in the car and stops it before killing herself or others in a wreck.
Meanwhile, Terry grabs a chainsaw, if bullets aren't gonna do the job, and that still doesn't stop Cordell. I've always wondered, with the way this guy shrugs off damage more effectively than even Jason Voorhees, is he supernatural? I could almost explain the bullets with a vest (Although questionable at that range), once he grabs the chainsaw with his gloved hands, I start thinking he is Something More.
But all of Teresa's fighting is to no avail, as Cordell cannot and will not be stopped. He grabs her, snaps her neck, and stalks off into the night.
The cops come upon the wreck, and get Riley into an ambulance, with McKinney arriving, saying he heard the reports and was already on his way to Teresa's apartment for more questioning. I wonder if the movie was trying to set McKinney up as a red herring suspect, since he's a big guy, his face is scarred (Not like Cordell's though), and he's rough around the edges with anger issues. With not showing Cordell up close and in the light, I think it's a reasonable thing to think.
Riley gets patched up as best she can, and takes Teresa's place on the tv show, now that she's encountered Cordell herself. After seeing his face, she's a believer.
They police commissioner is also there talking about another case that's been mentioned before in the background; a serial killer going around killing strippers.
But the serial killer is also watching the report, while lurking in a strip club stalking his next victim. He follows her home, barges into her apartment, and suddenly Cordell arrives and joins in.
Why is Cordell there? I suppose he heard the police coming on his radio, and wanted to do a meet and greet? I mean, otherwise it's pretty random.
Anyways, he saves Turkell, and the two run off into the night and escape along the rooftops, somehow managing to not run into Daredevil or Spider-Man.
Turkell takes his new friend home to meet his collection of photos of victims, and this is also the first time the man speaks and actually confirms, not like it was needed, that he is indeed Cordell.
Faster than you can say, Did I ever tell you how I got these scars? Cordell does just that, really. We get flashbacks as the two bond, and I think it's largely reused footage again. But that's fair. It's maybe a bit too much, but it's also a fairly dramatic moment, and it is important to the plot going forward.
Turkell shows off one of his favourite knives, and Cordell shows off his blade from his nightstick again. Is...is this a metaphor? Is this a dick waving contest?
Later, the stripper comes forward, and being a survivor and all, they decide to do a sting operation and stake out the club. That way they can see if the serial killer comes looking for another victim and she can finally ID the guy for the cops.
She also drops the clue that there was another guy, and his cold dead hands grabbed her. So now the cops know there's a super villain team-up going down.
Turkell's hubris is his downfall, as he almost immediately walks in, and gets arrested. They try to question him about Cordell, but he doesn't really know anything, and is sure his friend will come Terminator through the place any minute now.
While McKinney goes to check out Turkell's rathole on the off chance Cordell is still there, or get some evidence on either case, Riley gets into her old police uniform and goes to the firing range to get some practice in.
Riley goes to chat up Turkell, and back at the firing range, Cordell barges in, slaughters every cop in there while shrugging off every bullet coming for him from up range. He then proceeds to stalk through the precinct, wreaking havoc on man, woman, windows, and doors alike. This scene breaks my body count, you'll see.
One of the cops gets out of there to give exposition to the police gathering outside, and even they don't know how many cops are dead.
Cordell breaks his friend and all the others out of jail, and some of them get dressed up in uniforms, save for one of them, whom they are transferring to Sing Sing. They're using him to get through the front gates and wreck the place, so Cordell can continue his path of vengeance.
That's not what his mod squad thinks is going on though, as Turkell has his own ideas that this is all to break out the worst of the worst, and rain down chaos upon the city that locked them up.
And really, why not both? Why limit yourself?
We get another bonus car chase as the police ride after the prison bus. On the drive over, McKinney talks with the commissioner, and demands they reopen the Cordell case, since this entire thing is because he was falsely accused. He's reluctant, because naturally if they did things right, it would reveal a lot of corruption, including his own.
But eventually he agrees, sees its the only way, and it's a really nice version of the classic trope. The supernatural killer who needs its story to be told, wants its name to be cleared, etc etc. I like it.
Team Cordell arrive at the prison, and the chaos ensues. And it. Is. GLORIOUS. The thugs in jail recognise their handiwork in Cordell, try and stop him and...in possibly one of the worst ideas ever, they toss a Molotov cocktail at him to set him on fire.
NOT EVEN FIRE CAN STOP CORDELL. FIRE ONLY MAKES HIM STRONGER.
Seriously, this rampage may be one of my favourite scenes EVER. Cordell was already bad enough when he couldn't be stopped, but the cons wanted to see him try it ON FIRE. Now he comes at you engulfed in flames, and he doesn't even have to work for it, just grab you, and the fire does the work.
And then AND THEN! he starts grabbing people and HURLING them like he's fucking Mario after eating a fire flower.
AND THEN!! he grabs a guy, flings him on fire to the SECOND FLOOR of the prion, and THAT guy catches OTHER GUYS ON FIRE. AWESOME.
Er, where was I before distracted by fire? Right, the commissioner arrives, announces they're doing the right thing, and he's signed a confession and everything.
Turkell realises Matt never cared about him, was just a means to an end, and attacks Cordell. While he's on fire. Dude, what did you expect to happen, besides bursting into more flames?
Anyways, the pair of them go crashing out the wall, down a few stories, and into their bus, where they seemingly die. Again. Cordell IS an unofficial Phoenix at this point, guys. With all the times he's died and come back, and now being set on fire?
So Matt's rampage comes to end, he is given a real, new burial with full honours, and his name has been cleared.
But we get one last sting where Cordell Voorhees bursts his hand out of his coffin at the last second, before we get treated to Maniac Cop Rock over the credits. Always a sucker for music about the movie.
Video: It looks really good, and still has a decently grainy and grainy 80s look to it.
Audio: The cityscapes give some nice surround effects with cars driving by, and atmospherics.
Sound Bite: "You sure are pretty for a cop. ...Wanna integrate?"
Body Count: Cordell does not disappoint. He tears through oodles of cops, and gets to the point where he breaks the counter. I can't keep up. I make some educated guesses, but stop bothering with solid numbers
1 - Bodega clerk gets shot by Cordell at about eight minutes in
2 - Robber gets taken out in a murder by cop gambit by Cordell.
3 - Random guy gets defenestrated, bounces off a van, and shot by McKay...but somehow doesn't die! That's so spectacular he gets counted here even for not dying.
4 - Bruce gets taken out by Cordell with a backstab.
5 - There's also a dead stripper that died off camera that I mention only as a plot point.
6 - Another officer gets taken out by Cordell with his own tow truck.
7 - Cabbie gets run over by Cordell.
8 - Teresa gets her neck snapped.
6 dead in the firing range.
2 more going up the stairs.
7 more during the precinct massacre
And these are my best guesses.
2 more dead on the ground
Cordell snaps a cop's neck through prison bars.
Cordell Phoenix sets at least one guy on fire.
Another guy gets set on fire
And THAT guy catches another guy on fire
And another guy gets grabbed Cordellferno
Killer dude then gets it when he stabs Cordy and goes up too.
Cordell goes out the window, crashes into the bus, and he dead now.
Best Corpse: Can I count flaming Cordell? Fine, Bruce's death is iconic and pretty solid.
Blood Type - B: There's a LOT of blood in all the killings, almost painting the shooting range red. The makeup on Cordell isn't great, but I do love the skull look to it.
Sex Appeal: Strippers and dead bodies!
Drink Up! every time someone dies. Double shots if they die in fire.
Video Nasties: Is it any wonder that I'm going with the fiery massacre?
Movie Review: This deals with a lot of classic tropes, in different ways, making it a fairly standalone story. It builds off the first movie, it has good storytelling, the plot mostly makes sense, and using it as a way to highlight police corruption, making you question just WHO is bad and good. The main cast is solid, and even making McKinney a possible red herring is interesting. I wish they had played that up more, in fact. Four out of five nightblades.
Entertainment Value: Besides the fiery goodness, this movie is just plain fun. It's already one of my favourite sequels, with some solid surprises, and just a lot of fun to watch. From all the bloody death, to the fiery stunts, and a compelling villain in Cordell, this is a blast, and a high recommendation. Five out of five handcuffs.