Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Maniac Cop!

Maniac Cop has been on my must-see list ever since I learned that Bruce Campbell was in it. I usually enjoy any vehicle Campbell attaches himself to, and despite my general disdain for slasher pics, thought maybe this one might have a gram of the humor which leavens The Evil Dead and its kin. It doesn't.

Maniac Cop is a rather dreary flick, which presents us with a killer who appears to be a policeman and who picks his victims at seeming random. There's a tiny bit of time spent in the movie throwing out a few red herrings but mostly the meager mystery is solved way too quickly and the story becomes an illogical mess as the mayhem overwhelms any aspect of the clear storytelling.

That said, the cast is pretty good, and by and large work diligently to rise above the material. Tom Atkins is the defacto lead and burrows ahead in his investigation. We are supposed to connect with him I think, given his mildly anti-establishment attitudes but the characters lack of logic and dependence on gut instincts makes him hard to root for as he bumbles his way through the investigation.

Bruce Campbell likewise is supposed to be a rooting interest but he's shown early on to be a cheating spouse with speculative motivations and by the time we learn he's less than we'd imagined, he's hard to find much sympathy for. Likewise his girlfriend and fellow cop Laurene Landon, who is the weakest actor by far in the movie filled with solid pros.

Top-notch character actors Richard Roundtree and William Smith are present with a few scenes, but are rather wasted in the final analysis. 

And that's the core problem with this movie. No one really deserves our sympathy apart from a few victims who we barely meet before they are killed off. The movie blunders ahead and frankly I wonder how much of the story changed after some scenes were shot.

But it's a late 80's slasher movie and I probably expect too much of a flick designed to titillate for a few minutes and then disappear into the mists of cinematic history.

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