Maniac Cop ★★★½

Whole city's goin' to hell. You can't take a pee anywhere anymore.

I was planning on watching this sometime this month anyway, but after the recent news of my boy Nicolas Winding Refn soon adapting this for HBO, now was a better time than any to check this out. It doesn't take long to realize at least in its presentation, Maniac Cop is dated. The dialogue isn't the best, and most of the acting doesn't help its cause either. However, in a moment in history where it seems the only reason a cop makes the nightly news is after they aggressively gun someone down, the subject matter and themes of Maniac Cop remain prevalent. If anything, Refn's upcoming remake might be exactly the shocking kick in the ass that's needed. Even here, Maniac Cop offers a good balance of cheese and genuinely well-executed action and horror. Bruce Campbell does his thing, and who's the only actor you can get to match the legendary Campbell chin? Why, Robert Z'Dar, of course! Whilst speaking no lines at all, Z'Dar manages to pull off an intimidating killer. The way he's initially shot, intentionally hiding his face, and the way Campbell's character is also shot in the same way was pretty dang fun to experience. If maybe it took a little too long to get the main plot going, taking time at the beginning to set up Cordell as a serious threat had its own benefits. (The small flashback sequence we get of Cordell's past may have been my favorite moment from the movie, the camerawork and the music especially was legitimately effective.) Overall, I'd say go in expecting something that only takes itself a little serious, yet Maniac Cop may leave you with a little more than surface-level thrills. Even in the schlockiest kind of horror flicks, we can find a mirror held up to ourselves, and we're left with no other option than to look.

7/10

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