Blu-ray Review: MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE
Blue Underground brings the wrong arm of the law’s final installment, MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE, to an Unrated Collector’s Edition Blu-ray!
Seemingly picking up moments after the fiery end that concluded with the burial of officer Matt Cordell in MANIAC COP 2, it seems the streets are once again safe from his ruthless brand of justice. His six feet slumber is short lived once voodoo priest Houngan (Julius Harris, BLACK CAESAR) resurrects him after spirited cop Kate Sullivan (Gretchen Baker, ED WOOD) is gunned down and framed by a druggie (Jackie Earle Haley, WATCHMEN) and a scorned news camera crew. Seeking retribution for the now coma induced Sullivan, Cordell lays waste to those that wronged her, while forming an insidious plan involving an unholy matrimony. Recognizing Cordell’s murderous m.o., Lieutenant McKinney (Robert Davi, MANIAC COP 2) teams with Dr. Fowler (Caitlin Dulany, CLASS OF 1999 II: THE SUBSTITUTE) to lay the Maniac Cop to rest once and for all.
No film could possibly live up to MANIAC COP 2, unarguably the greatest horror sequel of all time. The bar was set to so incredibly high, any successor that followed was destined to be doomed from the get-go. So in that regard, it’s no surprise that MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE is just that; a doomed, sloppy, and forgettable sequel. MC3, as it was branded on its home video poster, was unfortunately plagued with an unruly producer (all details are spilled in the included documentary) who constantly battled with director Bill Lustig. This prime example of meddling with a director’s vision led to Lustig’s departure, thus ensuring a film that wouldn’t even come near the cinematic heights reached just three years prior.
Whereas MANIAC COP 2 was filled with excessive energy and an actual arc, BADGE OF SILENCE is a boring trudge of exposition and uneventful progression. An antithesis of everything that made the first two entries the lasting cult classics they are today, MANIAC COP 3 seemingly exists because a greedy producer thought a quick buck could be made off an esteemed and established franchise. Cordell’s story came full circle in MANIAC COP 2, ending on a satisfying and dignifying high note. But he’s ridiculously resurrected here anyways to essentially become a generic slasher clone, stripping him of the accolades that made him such an iconic adversary. The same could be said for many noteworthy villains of the genre, but here it’s an unnecessary exercise on how not to make a sequel.
Lustig’s absence is largely felt throughout; one needs not to guess why he literally walked off set and requested the all-too-telling Alan Smithee credit upon viewing the film. Scenes from MANIAC COP 2 are recycled numerous times, albeit in the most non-discrete and painfully noticeable ways. Despite it all, MANIAC COP 3 isn’t without a few noteworthy moments. Robert Davi returns (at the producers behest, Cohen’s script called for a voodoo-versed detective named Moonjean) to solely romance Caitlin Dulany, but he finds time for some John Woo-inspired gunplay to remind you that he can actually kick some ass. A lengthy, fiery car chase is admittedly great, but its occurrence at the tail end of the film feels like too little too late.
Had behind-the-scenes fiascoes not taken place, and a solid script been written instead of hastily relayed from a car phone, MANIAC COP 3 could have cemented the trilogy as one of horrors best. Instead, a lazy and haphazard bastard child of a film was delivered dead-on-arrival. Here’s hoping the proposed remake with Lustig and filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn at the helm can inject some new life into the titular cop, otherwise this bad cop will have to remain silent…forever!
Blue Undeground presents MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE onto Blu-ray for the first time ever. Presented in its Unrated form and correctly framed 2.35:1 ratio, BADGE OF SILENCE’s 1080p bow is every bit as sterling as MANIAC COP 2‘s. You can safely replace your VHS and barebones DVD, as Blue Underground has once again outdone themselves with a reference quality transfer that allows Jacques Haitkin’s atmospheric cinematography shine. MANIAC COP 3 is filled with vibrant tints and gel lit hues, all sharply represented here. I’ll be the first one to say MANIAC COP 3 doesn’t deserve such star treatment, but that’s exactly what Blue Underground has done, and it looks damn good.
Audio options include an English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, as well as a Dolby Digital 2.0 track.
- “Wrong Arm of the Law: The Making Of Maniac Cop 3”
If there is any reason to pick this up for reasons other than for completist sake, it’s this. Red Shirt Pictures’ 26 minute featurette is a surprisingly vicious tell-all that finally exposes MANIAC COP 3‘s extremely troubled production. It seems if anyone has to be blamed for the films dip in quality and causing Lustig to vacate the director’s chair, look no further than producer Joel Soisson. Soisson and Lustig are on-hand to give their take on what went down behind the scenes, with screenwriter Larry Cohen, directory of photography Jacques Haitkin (of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET fame), stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, and the principle cast chiming in on their experience. After the spectacular supplemental package that accompanied MANIAC COP 2, watching this making-of should be required viewing if you find yourself dissatisfied (oh, and you will) with MANIAC COP 3.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes
- Theatrical Trailer
- Poster & Still Gallery
- Original Synopsis