Maniac Cop 2 is a thinking man’s exploitation film, improving on the 1988 original. This time the title character Cordell (Robert Z’Dar), a framed cop killed in prison three years ago, is resurrected as a disfigured supernatural character stalking the streets of Manhattan.
With director William Lustig creating a brooding, morbid atmosphere akin to classical film noir, pic benefits from producer-writer Larry Cohen’s extremely dark humor. Time and again the cop-monster shows up at a crime scene and violently aids the criminal rather than the victim.
Most outlandish conceit mocks the genre’s most overused subject matter: a serial killer (Leo Rossi) of strippers in the Times Square district is about to be apprehended when the maniac cop comes in and rescues him. The two killers become friends, and guest star Rossi, almost unrecognisable with long hair and bushy beard, is terrific as the nut with the gift of gab.
Hero Robert Davi in slouch hat as the sympathetic but unyielding detective on the case is most persuasive. Claudia Christian also impresses as the no-nonsense police psychologist treating Davi, cop Bruce Campbell and frightened policewoman Laurene Landon.