Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blu-ray Review: MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE (1993)

Release Date: November 19th 2013
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 85 Minutes 
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby Digital Surround EX 2.0, Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 with Optional English SDH Subtitles
Video: 1080p Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: William Lustig
Cast: Robert Davi, Caitlin Dulany, Gretchen Becker, Paul Gleason, Doug Savant, Robert Z'DAr
The Wrong Arm of the Law Is Back!

In the third and final installment of the Maniac Cop series the Maniac Cop Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar, Beastmaster) is resurrected by a voodoo priest named Houngan (Julius Harris, Super Fly) for nefarious reasons. Now, what exactly those reasons were I could not say at this time, even after just having watched the movie, but trust me and just go with it, through whatever contrived means necessary the Maniac Cop is back on the beat with vengeance!

This time out Cordell is preoccupied with NYPD Officer Kate Sullivan (Gretchen Becker) who has earned the nickname "Maniac Kate" from fellow police officers for her brutality against the vermin on the street, one night while responding to a robbery in progress she arrives at a pharmacy where a junkie (a fun Robert Earl Haley, Watchmen) is holding a store clerk hostage, there's a double cross and in the aftermath the store clerk is dead with a bullet to the barin and Kate lays brain-dead in the hospital.

Two unscrupulous tabloid video journalist capture the entire incident on film but edit in a way to make it appear the Officer Sullivan murdered the clerk in cold-blood, the junkie survives and threatens legal action against the city. Crooked politicians fearing legal action conspire with the attending physicians at the hospital to take Kate off life support, but the Maniac Cop has other plans for Maniac Kate. 

This strange third entry in the Maniac Cop series  brings back Robert Davi (Goonies) as the hard-nosed Det. McKinney who teams-up with an attractive physician Dr. Susan Fowler (Caitlin Dulany, Project X) to probe the accusations against Officer Sullivan, it's a pretty forced romantic angle, ugh. The journalist characters are pretty annoying and when the Maniac Cop catches up to them, in one of the most contrived sequences of the film, their deaths are pretty lame, but we do get some fun kills with Maniac Cop 3, at one point the movie detours into a hospital horror entry along the lines of X-Ray (1983) which is quite a bit of fun. At the hospital Maniac Cop turns one doc's brains to jelly with a pair of defibrillator paddles and another is strapped to a gurney and x-rayed to death It's pretty awesome but the strange thing is that these two docs are played by Paul Gleason (Breakfast Club) and Robert Forster (Jackie Brown), they just show up outta nowhere and are gone just as quickly, strange cameos but pretty awesome. 

Maniac Cop 2 was a pretty fantastic action-horror hybrid and some of what we get here is outstanding but you can definitely tell which sequences were directed by William Lustig and which were directed by producer Joel Soisson, he just doesn't have the action-chops of Lustig but he gives it quite a shot with the crazy police cruiser vs. ambulance car chase at the end of the movie, it's completely fucking nuts and the man-on-fire stunt-work rivals what we saw with Maniac Cop 2. 

Blu-ray: Blue Underground bring Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence comes to 1080p Blu-ray with an AVC encode in it's original widescreen (2.35:1) aspect ratio with a
 brand-new 4K High Definition transfer from the original uncensored negative. The hi-def image looks excellent with strong saturated colors, deep blacks and some decent depth and fine detail, a very strong presentation all around. 

The 2-disc edition come with choice of English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound EX and Dolby Surround 2.0. with optional subtitles. The DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 does a great job with the Joel Goldsmith score and effects making effective use of the surrounds, the action sequences particularly benefit from the surround mix, very nice. 

Extras on the set include the excellent Wrong Arm Of The Law - The Making Of MANIAC COP 3 (25:05) featurette featuring director William Lustig, writer Larry Cohen and producer turned director Joel Soisson speaking about the movies troubled production which resulted in Lustig walking off set. It's very candid as the two sides speak about the problematic shoot. Actors Robert Davi, Robert Z’dar, Gretchen Becker, Caitlyn Delany and stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos also chime in throughout the doc, it's a great extra and gives you some interesting insight into just what can go wrong with a small budget production. 

We also get a selection of deleted and extended scenes, a theatrical trailer, a poster and still gallery and the original synopsis for the film from writer Larry Cohen which is quite different than what ended up onscreen. This 2-disc set also
 comes with a standard-def DVD mirroring the same  extras and with a cool embossed slipcover, it should also be noted that his is the Unrated Version, not he R-rated cut of the film. 

Special Features:

- Wrong Arm Of The Law - The Making Of MANIAC COP 3 (25:05)
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:20)
- Theatrical Trailer (1:48)
- Poster and Still Gallery
- Original Synopsis
- Enhanced for D-Box Motion Control Systems

Verdict: Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1993) is a pretty ridiculous action-horror hybrid with a weird Bride of Frankenstein subplot, while it's definitely the weakest of the series it's still quite a bit of fun and Blue Underground have done a fantastic job bringing it to Blu-ray. If you can shut your brain off and just enjoy it for the b-movie mess that it is there's some fun to be had. With that said, not a recommend unless you're a huge fan of the series or completest, but this would be a fun Friday night rental with a few brews. Cannot say I would look forward to a continuation of the series but I wouldn't mind if a young, hungry director with vision resurrected Maniac Cop for a new generation of horror fans. 2.5 Outta 5