DirectorAlan Smithee (William Lustig/Joel Soisson)
Release Date(s)1993 (November 19, 2013)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A+
- Audio Grade: A+
- Extras Grade: A+
Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence takes one more dip into the well of the concept of a deadly policemen on the loose in New York City. As with the previous film, it again picks up where the story left off. A little bit of time has passed, but not all that much, and the killer cop Cordell is on another rampage for revenge... well, sort of. This time around, he’s actually more focused on protecting and reviving an injured female police officer who is wrongly accused of killing innocent people. He feels a kinship towards her and decides to take her as his bride. You read that right.
As I said with my review of Maniac Cop 2, when you make the killer in your slasher movie sympathetic in the sequels, then it’s bound to lose some of its value, if not all. Maniac Cop 3 actually has the least amount of value. It was a production that was plagued with problems, with director William Lustig quitting the film and producer Joel Soisson taking it over and finishing it. It also came under heavy scrutiny from the MPAA, who originally slapped it with an NC-17 rating, but further cuts got it down to an R. Today, the home video market is much more forgiving of ratings, and this Blu-ray release features the unrated version of the film. It doesn’t help a whole lot, but it’s nice to have the purest version of the film at our disposal.
To be honest, I can’t help but think of The Bride of Frankenstein while watching Maniac Cop 3. It’s very prevalent in my mind, although I’m not sure how much the filmmakers realized that they were making a film like that at the time. That aside, it seems to stray away the furthest from the initial concept. I suppose changing things up and making things different each time around was probably the best way to go rather than having stale sequels, one after another. Who knows? One thing’s for sure: Maniac Cop 3 is the least of the films in the series, but that’s not to say it’s altogether terrible. It just has some questionable elements.
Like the previous films, it has a great cast. Returning are Robert Davi and Robert Z’Dar, but there are also roles featuring Jackie Earle Haley, Frank Pesce, Gretchen Becker, Robert Forster, Caitlin Dulany, Barry Livingston, and even Ted Raimi (no Sam this time around). There are also some fine action set pieces, as well. Things tend to drift off once the latter half of the film kicks in, but still, it’s not a bad film. I just think that the anguish that went into it showed itself in the final film, which is always a shame. It’s a worthy film with a lot of problems, yet still manages to be enjoyable.
Like Blue Underground’s Blu-ray release of Maniac Cop 2, Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence boasts an amazing presentation. Also sourced from a 4K scan of the original negative, there’s almost nothing to complain about with the transfer. There’s an enormous amount of detail and the clarity is outstanding. There’s a fine layer of grain throughout the film that never looks uneven. Colors look great and blacks are super deep, not to mention the skin tones, which look excellent. Contrast and brightness are also terrific and well-balanced. Like the previous release, there are no atrocities committed against the transfer and there are no noticeable film defects on display either. A superb-looking picture, to be sure. There are fewer audio options than the last release, two English tracks, one in 5.1 DTS-HD and one in 2.0 Dolby Digital, but the quality outweighs the quantity. Despite the 2.0 track being lossy, the 5.1 track is quite excellent, with a very hard-hitting soundscape. Dialogue is always clean and clear, sound effects and score mix well into the proceedings, LFE is quite prominent, and speaker activity is abundant. I feel like a broken record, but again, there’s nothing here to really complain about. Being that this is a region-free release, there are a multitude of subtitle options for those who might need them.
The disc’s extras are great as well. The Wrong Arm of the Law: The Making of Maniac Cop 3 featurette focuses almost solely on the problems during production, but there’s also a set of deleted and extended scenes, a theatrical trailer, a poster and still gallery, the film’s original synopsis, and a D-Box Motion Code option. As for the DVD release, it’s identical in content, but the 5.1 track is in Dolby Digital instead of DTS-HD. Sadly, there’s no audio commentary, but judging from the problems that went into making of the film, I’m not surprised that nobody wanted to sit down and watch it. I guess the documentary will have to suffice for now.
So Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence isn’t the best of the series, but it’s not a terrible effort at all. There’s some really great stuff to be had, but when seeing the films back to back or putting them in a line-up next to each other, it’s definitely the least of the series. I’d still recommend it though, especially for this fantastic Blu-ray release from Blue Underground. It’s definitely worth your hard-earned cash and a great addition to all horror fans’ collections.
- Tim Salmons