Spotlight

One Too Many: MANIAC COP 2!

11 June 2019

We forced our intern, Charlotte Daraio, to watch a film, not just any film though, it had to be a sequel to a film from a franchise that she had never seen any of the films from before…then we asked her to review it. 

One too many times have I found myself watching a continuation of a beloved franchise that doesn’t quite hit the mark, or watching a follow-up to a film I didn’t like that much in the first place. I’m all too familiar with the bitter disappointment and self-hatred of having probed the sanctity of closure, only to never be able to shut it quite as tightly.

Well, what better way to eradicate these negative emotions than to jump the hurdle of the high bar altogether? That’s right: I’m talking about skipping the original. Because who needs all that pesky pretext that hinders a sequel-viewing experience?

These reviews are based not on tech specs or creative merit, but on stand-alone-ability – on how well the sequel braves the cruel elements of knowledge, nostalgia and time. So sit back and let an ignoramus warble on about – and maybe trash talk –  the nth instalment of your favourite franchise. Because let’s be real: you know she’s right.

MANIAC COP 2 (1990)

I was actually super surprised with how OK this was to watch.

That’s an understatement: I really liked this movie. There are some clever ideas and superb acting right from the get go. The film knows what relevant information to bring in from the original and what stuff it needs to omit. Because, really, you don’t need that much pretext to know that the titular cop in this sequel is, in fact, a maniac.

Hit with a climactic beginning, we see our Maniac Cop supposedly taken out by two not-so-maniac cops. But as cinematic history would have us know, the party isn’t over.

This movie doesn’t feel like a sequel. You could tell me that it was the first of the franchise and I’d believe you. It’s the kind of film that beckons your full attention; unlike the previous sequel I reviewed, I couldn’t get away with slinging a sneaky Snapchat without having to rewind and see what I’d missed. Every character and scene is purposeful and well-developed. It kept me on my toes: I really enjoyed the Psycho-esque killing off the main protagonists – who are surprisingly full-bodied considering how little screen time they have – within the first thirty minutes.

The subplot of the exotic dancer-killer gives the film depth and allows it to be something more than a continuous slash ‘n’ dash – and it’s pretty darn feminist. By having the serial killer express ‘she had it coming’ sentiments, it spits in the face of those who actually believe that so-called ‘promiscuous’ women are ‘asking’ to be assaulted. The ethics – or lack thereof – of the undead killer cop are compared to those of a rapist/murder and highlight that people don’t need to be actual monsters to be, well, monsters. Overall, I’m impressed that a film like this – from the 80s, no less – chose to side with, rather than punish or kill off, the sex workers it portrays.

In all, Maniac Cop 2 is a fun movie that seems to use the titular symbol of its franchise as a backdrop to discuss more important issues. Feel free to call me out on reading too far into it but, tickle me pink, it’s definitely a smarter film than I expected.

5/5 for stand-alone-ability!