Ben Hibburd’s review published on Letterboxd:
*Contains a spoiler as to who/what the main killer is.
"Maniac Cop" is a decent slasher from William Lustig. From a technical standpoint this is on the better end of the slasher scale. The film also looks better than it has any right to be. The moody, grimy cityscape of New York complements this film really well as a psycho cop is embarking on a merciless rampage targeting innocents and his fellow officers.
The stunts, the kills and the overall tone of the film is well crafted, what Lustig accomplishes on a relatively small budget is impressive. However, whilst I enjoyed these parts of the film, I struggled badly to engage with the story. Going into a film called "Maniac Cop" I wasn't expecting much but considering the solid start and build up this film has, I was disappointed with where it went.
The film tries to set up some sort of mystery as to who this killer cop is by obscuring his face, leaving his face out of frame or framing him from a distance. The initial set-up had me intrigued until it pulled the rug from under itself. The maniac cop is a character that we never see and was "dead" before the film even started....... I mean, okay?
I just, don't quite get what Larry Cohen was going for when he wrote the script. Again, I don't expect much from a slasher script but this seemed like it had more brains than your average genre thriller. Add in the fact that most of the characters were totally boring with exception to Tom Atkins, I found myself pretty despondent by the end of the film.
There's a really fun slasher to found in this film. The uncanny, supernatural elements worked really well with this film, giving it an almost "Terminator" vibe but that stupid reveal really killed my interest. Hopefully that'll play better on a re-watch but as of now I really didn't like the direction they took the story in.