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Cinema Obscura

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If you watch Maniac Cop for the reason I did — to complete your mission to watch every Bruce Campbell movie in hopes he’ll accept the wedding invitation you sent him — you’re going to be severely disappointed. The Chin is completely wasted here playing second banana as Jack Forrest, a philandering patsy with no personality and, worse, not a single smarmy one-liner to utter. Plus, the home address you can find online for Campbell is invalid. If you look past the severe lack of Brucey goodness here, you’re still going to want the 90 minutes of your life back.

The story — a mysterious and frickin’ huge dude in a police uniform (Robert Z’Dar) is murdering innocent people and framing Forrest, guilty only of general douchebaggery, for the crimes — has potential, and the attempt to cross slasher horror with police procedural drama is commendable, but pretty much everything falls flat. The first few victims’ unquestioning compliance to a strange man in a dark alley simply because of his police uniform raises an interesting point about our willingness to bend over and grab our ankles at Johnny Law’s say-so, but that’s abandoned without any real elaboration once do-gooder Lieutenant Frank McCrae (Atkins) leaks the cop angle to the press

The violent public retaliation against the police force raises another interesting conundrum — our love-hate relationship with the people we employ to protect us — but that’s also quickly dropped in favor of upping the body count. Even the few people watching Maniac Cop for reasons other than educated philosophical dialogue will be disappointed. Fake-blood aficionados will find the killings tame and lame, not even providing enough unintentional humor to make the movie worthwhile. And what might’ve provided a semi-sweet climax, the slaying of an entire freaking police precinct, is glossed over, probably because somebody blew the remaining effects budget on a hamburger. Forget Campbell; not even black private dick/sex machine to all the chicks Roundtree can save this one.


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