Next time you're feeling sorry for yourself, spare a thought for poor old officer Matt Cordell of the NYPD. A supercop who tried to do his superiors for corruption but who got banged up himself in Sing-Sing, where some rather disagreeable characters slit him up a treat in the showers. Not the most dignified way out.

But then he was dead and didn't know where to go. He tried to get into Hell but they said "We don't like uncorruptible law enforcement officers down here," and showed him the door. He tried to get into Heaven but they said "Phew, no thank you, you've got scars all over your face and you smell like a rabbit in a fish tank, sod off." So eventually Matt thinks to himself "Well, nothing better to do ... might as well come back to life and wreak vengeance upon the people who got me slit up."

And that, dear reader, is the concept of the Maniac Cop series, one of the many pretenders to the Jason/Michael/Freddy triumvirate (hee! Long word!) of the 1980's. The main difference being that it's actually quite good. Robert Z'Dar (and if that's not a good name for a Flash Gordon villain I don't know what is) stars as Mr. Cordell, a cop who also happens to be a zombie who also happens to be a maniac, hence the title.

GRRRR - oh sorry, wrong door.

Our story opens with a flashback from the first film, in which Cordell gets impaled on a big pole thing and drives his van into a river, then he appears after a long (very VERY long) title sequence in a convenience store during a robbery. And it seems that he likes to keep a dry ice machine down his trouser legs, as when he shows up suddenly everyone's knee deep in smoke. Anyway, he takes a sawn-off from the robber, shoots the clerk (who didn't see that coming, apparently unfazed by the big policeman's handsome features) and gives the sawn-off back to the aforementioned robber so a bunch of other cops can turn up and blow him away.

Digressing for a moment - do cops in New York really have to wear those fruity white cotton gloves? Ha ha ha!

Anywa - HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

Anyway, here's something about the film I haven't mentioned yet - Bruce Campbell's in it! Well, in the first bit. He was the hero in the last film, so obviously (if you know horror films like I do) he gets killed in this one. Knife through neck. Boo!

Brucey's girlfriend identifies the corpse, whereupon the investigating officer (one of those gritty macho cops who is destined to be the hero) starts asking if she killed him. I'm not even kidding. Don't they teach you anything at cop school? It's probably not polite to accuse someone of murdering their boyfriend ten seconds after announcing that he's dead. For shame, gritty macho cop! You should watch Diagnosis Murder one of these days. Dick Van Dyke, now he knows how to grill people.

Cordell shows up again briefly for a routine slaying (a traffic cop towing someone's car away). The sort of thing you have to include in between all the serious scenes so as not to bore anyone. Then Brucey's girlfriend and a psychiatrist chick (who is destined to become the heroine) meet up with the cranky fellow, and there's an exciting car chase, after which psych chick (I should probably make note of more character names) is handcuffed to Matt's car which is then pushed down a hill, and Brucey girlfriend chick attacks Cordell with a chainsaw (an in-joke perhaps?). The maniac cop grabs the chainsaw by the blade, ruining only his fruity gloves (HA HA HA) and swiftly breaks his attacker's neck.

Oh yeah, perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier - Matt's completely indestructible. That's the thing about these undead types, you can't seem to finish them off. Especially the ones who were brought back from the dead by their fury. Just a thought, but why is it that all these zombies are brought back by their anger? Cordell, Michael Myers, the bloke in The Crow, Jason, Freddy ... all brought back from the dead by how pissed off they were. Don't get me wrong, if I'm ever brought back as an unkillable zombie I'd like it to be by anger, but just for once I'd like to see a zombie brought back by some other strong emotion. Like a big libido (Michael Myers Does Dallas!) or a profound love for Teletubbies.

TINKY WINKY: I love you, zombie!
ZOMBIE: Gggrrrrrrrraaarrrrrgh!!!
(they hug)

Anyway. Psych chick survives her encounter and is now convinced that Cordell wasn't killed at the end of the last film (duh) but her superiors don't wanna hear it, blaming the attacks on a copycat. A copycat who also happens to be a six-foot musclebound cop with a horribly slashed up face.

Meanwhile, Cordell has made friends with another serial killer, a chap with a big black beard who kills strippers. He needs extra help if he wants to do what he's gotta do, man. And when asked his name, he says one word. Yep, the big silent killer actually says a word in this movie. He says "Cordell". Trust me, it's worth the whole film just to hear that. And incidentally at this point we notice his nose is missing. He had it in the last film, so it must have fallen off ... while he was underwater ... completely ignoring the fact that he's supposed to be indestructible. And he seems to be decomposing nicely, now, too.

Using a stripper, a strip club and a plaster cast, psych chick, gritty tough cop and some other guy manage to trap the stripper killer and arrest him, Meanwhile he warns them that his new best pal will come break him out. Which he does. In an oddly decorative way, too, storming into the cop shop and blowing away everyone he encounters. Look closely at the bit when he's walking through the main lobby area - a plate glass window actually shatters BEFORE he bursts through it! Ha ha! I'm clever 'cos I noticed that!

Incidentally, there are two recurring motifs in this film. People being thrown through windows, and bad guys having bad teeth. Cordell, the stripper killer, the robber at the beginning - let's just say they probably don't floss much.

More cops are thrown through windows (I wish I could be a glazier in this city, it's probably a terribly lucrative trade) and Cordell busts his new pal out, together with another new pal he made while in custody. They also kidnap psych chick. They're planning on going back to Sing-Sing. Stripper killer thinks it's 'cos Cordell wants to raise an army of serial killers, and Cordell doesn't confirm this, but it's probably safe to assume that that was pretty low down on his agenda, as we learn later.

The little party steal a bus and drive straight through a barricade of police cars. One car explodes as it is knocked aside. Now I don't believe that's really true to life, do you? Come on, someone e-mail me. You know my address. Would a police car really explode instantly if you knocked against it in a bus? That's your science project for today, kids!

A scene from Cordell's thrilling origins!

Cordell arrives back at the prison where he was killed, and is just about to do what he came there to do when the police commissioner, egged on by gritty bloke, talks to him over the tannoy. You may remember that Cordell was framed by said commissioner and a bunch of other people who got killed in the last film. Well, the commissioner apologises to Matt and offers to reverse all the charges against him. And much to my disappointment, Cordell seems to accept the deal.

I mean, come on, he's already killed enough people to fill a reasonably-sized Afterlife football stadium! And now he just drops it all 'cos the people who framed him said sorry. Well, gee, thanks. That pissed me off. He should've walked up to them slowly, looked into their eyes, held out a hand to shake theirs, then just snap all their necks. That's what I would've done! I dunno, if you're framed and imprisoned, slit up, killed, brought back, shot a bunch of times, impaled, drowned and shot a bunch more times, you're gonna want a bit more than an apology before you start forgiving and forgetting.

Cordell suddenly realises that the convicts who slit him up are still around in the prison, and thinks to himself "Well, don't care about my superiors anymore ... let's just kill those bastards." One of the bastards in question lights him on fire, and just to prove he's better than Michael Myers, it doesn't faze him much. He, in turn, lights on fire all the people who killed him, then the stripper killer gets angry and stabs him, so he gets lit on fire too. Then they both crash through a wall and land on the bus, which explodes.

If only the convicts had known the walls in Sing-Sing were made of polystyrene, hmm?

It occurs to me that there's another sequel to Maniac Cop out there somewhere, so the main feature in that will be a cop who's not only horribly scarred but also horribly burnt, too. Good thing there's not a Maniac Cop 4, or it'll probably be about a pile of misshapen, scorched flesh in a cop uniform slithering around killing people.

Matt is buried with full military honours, and gritty bloke and psych chick wander off making some deep philosophical comment about how there's a Cordell inside every cop. Then, and you see this coming a mile off, Matt's hand breaks out of the coffin. Still wearing the fruity white glove. HA HA HA HA HA. The end.

What's that I smell? Ratings!

Fingers in ears rating - 5/10
Some jumpy moments, but nothing you don't see coming a mile off.

Similarity to last film rating - 7/10
Maniac cop kills people. Other cops deny it. Gets killed in the end. Turns out to be not as dead as they thought he was. So yeah.

Get nekkid and DIE! rating - 3/10
Considering one of the characters is a stripper killer, it's odd that none of the strippers we see actually die in the film. There's one who's already dead and naked on a mortuary slab, but that doesn't really count.

Blood and guts rating - 6/10
Yeah, a fair amount of shootings and stabbings. And let's not forget people being hurled through windows.

Hateful heroes rating - 4/10
I didn't relate with them much, but I can't say I actually hated them ... and let's not forget that Bruce Campbell's in it! Woo!

Overall horror movie sequel rating - 5/10
Like B-Movies? You odd person. See this.

Quality Rating: 64%

One-Word Summary: "Windows"

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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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