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Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1993)

Blue Underground
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/19/2013

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/5/2013

The home video revolution brought us many things (such as a brand new way to spend ones hard-earned money), not the least of which was a bad case of "sequelitis". Before the dawn of home video, a movie had to be a huge success or something very influential (such as Night of the Living Dead) in order to get a sequel due to the sheer cost of getting a movie made and distributed. Home video changed all of that. Suddenly, filmmakers could make low-budget films and instead of worrying about getting them into theaters, they simply had to mass-produce video tapes. Therefore, any movie which made a hint of money would get a sequel. Some theatrical releases which barely scraped by got sequels which were released directly to home video. All of this mean that some decidedly lackluster movies were having another chapter made. Maniac Cop 3 Badge of Silence is a perfect example of this.

With Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence, we once again enter the world of wrong former police officer and possible zombie Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar) Maniac Cop 2 ended with a Carrie-like coda in which Cordell's hand erupted from a coffin which had just been placed in the ground. The opening of Maniac Cop 3 takes that footage and integrates it with scenes of Houngan (Julius Harris), voodoo priest chanting. Yes, Houngan has brought Cordell back to life. Meanwhile, Officer Katie Sullivan (Gretchen Becker) is investigating a robbery at a pharmacy when she is shot. As she is taken to the hospital, Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi), who we last saw in Maniac Cop 2, begins to investigating the shooting. At the hospital, he meets Dr. Susan Fowler (Caitlin
Dulany) who helps McKinney get information on Katie's condition. Cordell comes to the hospital and begins to wreak havoc by freeing dangerous patients. Why is he there and what does he want with Katie?

I don't think that many expected the third chapter in an admittedly mediocre series to be a great movie, but I don't think anyone anticipated the bizarre oddity that is Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence. As essayed in the special features included on the Disc, series creators William Lustig (Director) and Larry Cohen (Writer) were back on board to make the film. Joel Soisson, who had worked in horror films for a few years and would go on to be the go-to guy for Miramax horror sequels, was brought on-board to produce. For whatever reason, the working relationship wasn't good. Cohen attempted to dictate the script over the phone and Lustig only shot enough footage for half of a movie. Eventually, Soisson was left to finish the film. This would certainly explain why Maniac Cop 3 seems to be so full of half-fleshed out idea and loose ends. As I watched the movie, I found myself asking many questions -- Are we supposed to know Katie? Why did Houngan bring Cordell back? Who cares about the two reporters? Was that Jackie Earle Haley? What is the relationship between Katie and McKinney? The movie brings up many points and doesn't feel the need to flesh many of them out.

Having said that, with the footage that Lustig did shoot, he created one of the most memorable finales in movie history. Once again, Lustig partnered with Stunt Coordinator Spiro Razatos and the two simply went for broke. The third act of the movie features an extended car chase where one of the drivers is on fire. You read that right. It's not the car which is on fire, it's the driver. And this thing just goes on and on, leaving us to wonder how in the world they did it and how long it took to shoot it. (This is address in the special features.) This part of the film is so crazy that it's almost enough to make you forget about just how bad the first half of the movie was.

...Almost. We're still left with the knowledge that we've just watched a movie which didn't make a whole lot of sense and it expected us to believe that a hot doctor would be attracted to Robert Davi. The hop-scotch approach with the plotting combined with the fact that Cordell apparently now is a zombie, makes for a movie which doesn't seem to have any idea what it's doing. Lustig was still able to assemble an interesting cast for the film, as it features Robert Forster, Paul Gleason, and a small part with a pre-Desperate Housewives Doug Savant. But, the only real reason to watch Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence is the fiery finale, which will leave you wondering why the rest of the movie couldn't have been that engrossing.

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence gives the term "hot rod" a new meaning on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Blue Underground. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 35 Mbps. The Disc contains a new 4K transfer which was taken from the original negative. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a hint of grain and no defects from the source material. The image shows a nice amount of grain, but it's a bit flat at times. The colors look fine and the fire scenes look great. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.1 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good and show good separation. The surround sound effects really come to life during the action sequences and provide some occasionally detailed items. The subwoofer effects add some "oomph" to the explosions.

The Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras. "Wrong Arm of the Law: The Making of Maniac Cop 3" (25 minutes) contains comments from Lusting, Z'Dar, Davi, Cohen, Joel Soisson, Gretchen Becker, Caitlin Dulany, Director of Photography Jacques Haitkin, and Stunt Coordinator Spiro Razatos. This is one of those great retrospective featurettes where it's been so long that the movie was made that the participants are brutally honest. Lustig and Soisson give detailed accounts of the problems on the movie and how it was amazing that it got made. The Disc contains seven DELETED AND EXTENDED SCENES which run about 10 minutes. In a nice touch, we get the "Original Synopsis" of the initial script which was proposed by Larry Cohen. This was discussed in the "Making Of" and we can read it for ourselves here. The extras are rounded out by a THEATRICAL TRAILER and a "Poster & Still Gallery".

Review Copyright 2013 by Mike Long