Face-Off: Maniac Cop Vs. Maniac Cop 2

Well, it was close, but most actually did agree with the outcome of our last LeatherFace-Off that part 3's R.A. Mihailoff was slightly better than the remake's Andrew Bryniarski. This was a fun one and I enjoyed reading everyone's sharp comments.

Today's Face-Off comes at you off the recent news about a Maniac Cop remake from Nicholas Winding Refn is gaining steam. I think this is a fine idea and could wind up being pretty cool with such talented people already involved. Hence, let's take a trip back to the first two that made this franchise so popular. Break out the handcuffs and your nightstick because we're about to get crazy with Maniac Cop Vs. Maniac Cop 2!

Police Brutality
Officer Cordell was prepared to enforce his authority immediately here in the first Maniac Cop. Dude had no qualms about choking, slashing, or bashing any person that got in his way. He doesn't even need a gun! My favorite act of police brutality was his mashing of a dude's face into a patch of wet cement. The dead body had to be jackhammered out the next day!
Of course it would appear that Officer Cordell's strength has increased with this sequel. I guess cheating death a second time can do that. He makes no bones about crashing and bashing his way over many a person. And this time, he remembered how to use a gun, offing numerous officers in a precinct and throwing a dude through a row of cubicles. His worst act is handcuffing a woman to a car and then sending that car in motion!
Good Cop
The first Maniac Cop had the pleasure of having one of our genre's greatest actors taking part as the "Ahab"... Mr. Tom Atkins! This guy is just the man. His line deliveries, his actions, are all top notch. He's the only one able to piece together what the hell is happening with this psycho police officer out offing civilians. If it wasn't for him, nobody would know who the killer was.
There actually are two cops that take on Cordell in part 2, but I'm going to just select the slick Robert Davi as this category's choice. He's the epitome of bad-ass detective, gunning down a bad guy just to avoid the annoying paperwork. He's also got a bit of a problem with authority, big surprise, however that makes him a worthy adversary to take down a Maniac Cop that does not play by the rules.
Bad Cop
Matt Cordell, played monstrously by Robert Z'dar, stays pretty much in the shadows through most of part one. We don't even see his face until the end. However, his relentlessly harsh actions definitely showcase the kind of character he is. He is big, strong, and f*cking tough. And he will not take shit from anybody.
Bigger, stronger, smarter, better. Matt Cordell, played again by Robert Z'dar, is a psycho with a master plan in this sequel. Sure, he'll still off anyone that gets in his way, but he's looking for revenge big time against the cops and convicts that f*cked him over. He even begins recruiting followers, like a scene-stealing Leo Rossi, to help him achieve his goals.
Not showing Cordell's face for most of the flick really helps in amping the scare factor here. He could pop out from anywhere and all you see is those pristine, white gloves grabbing you. It's pretty damn unnerving especially when you first see what he is capable of. One of the best scares occurs when Richard Roundtree is heading to the elevator through two swinging doors. The doors close behind him and suddenly, you see a gloved hand raising a blade behind him.
Since we already know what Cordell is, the proceedings play out more like an action movie than a thriller. There are just a few modest jumps that happen around the beginning, the highlight being the unexpected offing of Bruce Campbell's character. Beyond that, there aren't a great deal of super scary scenarios.
After Bruce Campbell and his girl figure out who Maniac Cop is, they do their best to try and stop him. This leads to a rough showdown on the pier. After laying the smackdown, Cordell tries to escape in a prisoner transport vehicle, but Bruce ain't having none of that. He clings onto the vehicle and ends up steering the Maniac into an impalement and then off the pier into the ocean. However, we see a strong, thick hand emerging from the water right before the credits roll.
With the help of Rossi's nutjob character, Matt Cordell launches a full-on assault on Sing Sing prison where he was unjustly incarcerated and allegedly murdered. It's a pretty intense action set piece that eventually has Maniac Cop bashing people while fully on fire! It culminates with him and Rossi falling out a window to their deaths. Finally, Officer Cordell is laid to rest at the cemetery and Robert Davi tosses his badge down into the grave... then a white-gloved hand bashes through the coffin and grabs the badge!
Maniac Cop 2
Now this was one hell of an evenly matched battle! I'd expect nothing less from the all-time ass-kicker that is Maniac Cop. These two flicks really are a fun blast of 80's nostalgia. Again, like Phantasm, I believe director William Lustig and writer, Larry Cohen really did care about the series they created, which translates to a good time onscreen. I do feel that part 2 is the better flick, but what do YOU think? Take out your firearm and shoot some bullets below with your thoughts! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at [email protected].



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