The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
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All Critics (10)
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The plot - Robert Davi's stoic detective and Claudia Christian's pushy psychologist hunt an undead lawman (Robert Z'Dar) - is pretty dull, but the film handily coasts on sleazy charm.
its action sequences have a real sense of grit and danger due to their pre-CGI use of actual city locations and stuntpeople lighting themselves on fire, jumping out of buildings, and hanging on the outside of speeding cars
A worthy follow-up to a slasher classic...
Best... Low-rent car chase... Ever.
A thrilling, inventive 'B' film.
A fun slasher movie. The fire sequence at the end is great.
As enjoyably sleazy as part 1.
Like most propulsive action pictures, the sordidly jaunty 'Maniac Cop 2' starts with an in media action extravaganza that recaps the first film and it barrels forward with a brute-force velocity that totally supersedes its ignoble predecessor. From the onset, the cinematography is more burnished with the camera gliding through a squad car graveyard until it lands on Matt Cordell's (Robert Z'Dar) phantom mode of transportation. A morbid monologue from a blind newsstand proprietor is a shrewdly written deduction for psychologist Susan Riley's (Claudia Christian) investigation. Bar none, the stuntwork is not feigned and action junkies can rejoice at their balletic resilience (ex. In an unbroken shot, a felon vaults out of a fire escape and onto the roof of a van before rolling onto the asphalt). A car chase with a taxicab on its rims is a humdinger and then it's followed with an even more nail-biting scene with Christian handcuffed to the steering column of a car in neutral. In the tradition of Janet Leigh, loose-end protagonists are slain within the first quarter. Robert Davi is his flinty best and Leo Rossi (with the bearded simulacrum of a deadly Grizzly Adams) is rabidly teeth-gnashing as the serial killer Turkell. Turkell's misalliance with Cordell is akin to the loquacious weasel Buscemi and the tacit psychopath Stormare in 'Fargo'. Somehow a zombie Cordell nonchalantly shambling through door frames in a precinct shootout is fodder for a dynamic action sequence. In quintessential slasher movie fashion, a Molotov cocktail can't stymie Cordell's spree and his flame-engulfed rampage through Sing Sing is utterly dazzling. No delusions of loftiness here; 'Maniac Cop 2' is a rarefied sequel that simply sizzles above the ashes of the original.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The Empire Strikes Back. The Godfather, Part II. Each of these films is a member of an elite brotherhood of movie sequels, films that stood head-and-shoulders above their predecessors to become classics in their own right. There are few franchises that can claim a sequel that outdoes the original in every single way; and in their hallowed ranks, only ONE film series can make such a boast about a direct-to-video release. This is history. This is legend. This is Maniac Cop 2.
Written and directed once again by William Lustig, Maniac Cop 2 is the best action-horror film you've probably never heard of. Full of elaborate stunt sequences, superb early-nineties make-up effects, and just a dollop of gratuitous nudity, this film is a significant improvement over the first movie in every major category-- it's creepier, it's more exciting, and the plot progresses naturally from the first film while taking the situation to the next level. Why Maniac Cop 2 was relegated to home video is beyond me; the film's production quality (including cinematography that doesn't look like a holdover from the seventies) is certainly up to snuff for the kind of stuff that was in the multiplex at the time. But alas, the movie only received a direct-to-video release, and even now it's tough to find a good copy on DVD (every release is in full frame, but I don't think it was actually shot that way). Despite that, it's developed a small but dedicated cult following, and with good reason: this movie has every staple of a classic cult genre movie, from chainsaws to car chases to Bruce-freaking-Campbell himself (unfortunately, the movie's biggest misstep is that it kills off Bruce's character in the first ten minutes). And to top it all off, Maniac Cop 2 does the franchise a serious favor by turning its villain, Matt Cordell, into a misunderstood, even sympathetic monster out for revenge-- one that looks way better than he did before, as actor Robert Z'Dar now sports an iconic make-up that aesthetically puts the character in the same league as Freddy or Jason.
The film starts the way most 80s-era sequels do: with a recap of the climax of the previous film, in which Officers Jack Forrest and Teresa Mallory confronted Matt Cordell on the docks, culminating in him driving a police van off the pier and into the water. Neither Forrest nor Mallory believe that Cordell is actually dead, but the department wants to keep a lid on their story to save face, and ignore their warnings. Sure enough, they're right; Cordell tracks both of them down and kills them off within the first twenty minutes, leaving us with two new leads: Detective Sean McKinney, a loner cop with a disdain for authority and a pet peeve about psychologists, and Susan Riley, a police psychologist who was counseling Mallory, and who sees firsthand the kind of damage that Cordell can do. The two buddy-cop their way through the story, trying to figure out what set Cordell down his path of destruction; at the same time, Cordell falls in with Steven Turkell, a small-time serial killer with a penchant for strangling strippers, and the two become an odd couple in their own right (Cordell even moves in with Turkell-- I'm not even joking). When Turkell is tracked down and arrested, however, Cordell goes on the rampage, slaughtering his way through the central precinct to rescue his new B.F.F., and, backed by an army of freed prisoners, the two hatch a plan to break out every convict in Sing-Sing-- capturing Susan Riley along the way and holding her as a hostage. If it sounds like this plot is kind of all over the place, it is... but that just kind of adds to the movie's charm.
The new lead in the film, Robert Davi, is as much of a genre staple as Bruce Campbell, but he lacks a lot of the former's charisma on-screen, coming across as a little too hard-boiled to relate to (he actually spends a lot of his screen time in a fedora and trench coat); still, his grizzled Detective McKinney makes for a serviceable and sympathetic hero. Also serviceable, though seriously lacking in personality, is Claudia Christian in the role of Susan Riley. She's an empathetic presence in the film, I suppose, and her lack of experience in the field makes her an effective foil for the world-weary McKinney, but there just doesn't seem to be much going on with her character. But like most horror sequels, this film belongs to the monster, not the men, and Robert Z'Dar's Matt Cordell truly blossoms as a villain in this film-- establishing a more specific M.O. (kill the innocent, protect the guilty), giving him a concrete motivation (if a somewhat illogical one) and a set of goals, and even developing his personality (insofar as it's possible to develop the personality of a brain-damaged, near-mute murder-machine). This is done mainly through his unlikely friendship with shaggy-haired psychotic roommate Steve Turkell, played by Leo Rossi (whom you might know as the foul-mouthed prankster Budd from Halloween II). Turkell is a manic blabbermouth who latches onto Cordell the moment they meet, often acting as a mouthpiece for the silent juggernaut. The two develop a surprising rapport fairly quickly, which actually engenders some sympathy from the audience-- after all, even though one's a sleazy, murderous degenerate, and the other's an undead abomination, they're both clearly quite lonely, so their friendship is actually pretty heartwarming... in a bizarre sort of way. Laurene Landon is back from the last film (for the first act, at least) as Teresa Mallory, the vice cop who knows Cordell is still alive, and for such a short performance, oh, boy, does she make an impression-- her delivery somehow manages to be both melodramatic and emotionless at the same time (and it doesn't help that she gets the worst lines in the film, such as this little gem: when asked why it mattered who they saw on the pier in the last film, she shrieks "Because you can't kill the dead!"). Finally, Bruce Campbell returns as well in the role of Jack Forrest, and... well, he only has two scenes (and a flashback, which is the highlight of his appearance in the film), but he still managed to get second billing on the box. Take that as you will.
This script is a perfect example of poor story structure. The plot only really kicks in about halfway through the film, and before that, it's only a series of random killings and a completely unnecessary switch-over from one set of protagonists to another (something they did in the last film, too...). The dialogue is clunky and awkward, filled with clichés and non sequiturs (can someone please tell me what the "Two Dead Boys" rhyme has to do with anything?), and the story is resolved way too easily, with a hackneyed message tacked on about corruption and the system being the cause of everything. What ultimately saves this movie, however, is the execution. B-movie director William Lustig knows how to wring every ounce of quality from his limited budget, giving us a visually engaging film with phenomenal cinematography and significantly improved make-up effects. But the highlight of the film, without a doubt, is the stunt work. Car chases, shoot-outs, fire stunts-- this movie has all of them, and they're all the more impressive when you realize that the film only had a $4 million budget to work with, and that all of the stunts were performed for real, in camera. The action is well-shot and clear (for these were the days before shaky-cam), and the editing is smooth and effective at building tension. Basically, this is as good as exploitation cinema gets.
Maniac Cop 2 isn't exactly the pinnacle of the cinematic art form. It's a shameless B-movie filled with sleazy characters, gratuitous nudity, and graphic violence, all set against the backdrop of New York City at its scummiest. But in terms of those B-movies, this is definitely the cream of the crop. Loaded with atmosphere and action spectacle, and featuring a unique and memorable movie villain, Maniac Cop 2 is an endlessly watchable film that stands proudly as a follow-up far superior to its drab, slow-paced predecessor. It may not be The Dark Knight or Godfather II, but it's earned its place in the pantheon of exceptional sequels... direct-to-video or not.
Sequel to the awesome Maniac Cop, Maniac Cop 2 is one awesome ride. Not as great as the original, this still manages to deliver awesome Horror thrills mixed with loads of low budget action. For me, the films in this series are by far the best B movie films ever made in the horror genre. They are loads of fun, despite being sleazy and feeling cheap at times. However the filmmakers obviously knew how to pull out something very good despite the fact that the film feels low budgeted. But who cares, right? All the best and greatest horror films of the late 70's and 80's were low budget films. Maniac Cop is just another example of a low budget classic. In this sequel, we get a bit more action than the first and Larry Cohen's script offers just the right amount of both elements(action and horror) to please the audience. In one scene, theres almost an homage to the first Terminator film as the Maniac Cop commits a massacre in a police precinct. The cast here are good Robert Davi is probably the best known actor in the film as he played in Licence To Kill and Die Hard. Robert Davi plays a tough cop on Matt Cordell's trail who is played Robert Z'dar. William Lustig's direction is again, impressive and he manages to get the most out of the actors and achieve a film with lots of action and horror. Matt Cordell is a very unique villain as he helps the criminals and not the victims, he kills the victims and Z'dar plays that character with phenomenal chilling perfection. All in all, not as great as the original, but still awesome in it's own right, and as far as sequels go, Maniac Cop 2 is a terrific follow up to a neglected classic of the horror genre. Maniac Cop 2 is one of the best horror sequels that I have ever seen, violent, horrifying and action packed, this will definitely appeal to fans of the first.
The sequel is better than the original, it's still pretty much par for the course in the horror-movie sequel stakes. This time the officers who refuse to believe that Office Matthew Cordell died at the end of the first film are vindicated as he goes on the rampage again.
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