Next in the Larry Cohen collection is the finale of the Maniac Cop trilogy: “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence.”
“Maniac Cop 3” was once again written and produced by Larry Cohen, and was initially directed by William Lustig of “Maniac Cop” and “Maniac Cop 2” as well. However, he ultimately walked off of the film when the initial cut only came in at 50 minutes, refusing to film any additional footage. Producer Joel Soisson (“Dracula 2000,” “The Prophecy,” “Mimic 2”) filled in for the additional sequences, and the film was ultimately Alan Smithee-d for the DVD release.
The cinematography for “Maniac Cop 3” was provided by Jacques Haitkin, who also did photography work for “The Ambulance,” “Shocker,” “Evolver,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” and “Galaxy of Terror.”
The effects team on “Maniac Cop 3” was comprised on experienced makeup and special effects technicians, including Howard Berger (“The Cell,” “The Faculty,” “In The Mouth of Madness”), Robert Kurtzman (“Tusk,” “It Follows,” “John Dies At The End,” “From Beyond”), Bill Miller-Jones (“Maniac Cop,” “Hell Comes to Frogtown”), Greg Nicotero (“Seven Psychopaths,” “Ghosts of Mars,” “Torchwood”), Stephen DeLollis (“Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction”), Larry Fioritto (“Halloween 4,” “Knight Rider”), Bruce Mattox (“Capricorn One,” “The China Syndrome”), Wes Mattox (“Django: Unchained,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “Daredevil”), and Robert Phillips (“Volcano,” “Se7en,” “Shocker”).
The score for “Maniac Cop 3” was provided by Joel Goldsmith, who worked on the music for “Kull The Conqueror,” “Laserblast,” and the television show “Stargate SG-1.”
The cast of “Maniac Cop 3” is headlined by returning players Robert Z’Dar and Robert Davi, with an accessory team made up by Robert Forrester (“Jackie Brown”), Jackie Earle Haley (“Watchmen”), Doug Savant (“Teen Wolf”), Grand Bush (“Lethal Weapon,” “Demolition Man”), Paul Gleason (“Die Hard”), Gretchen Becker (“The Doors”), Caitlin Dulany (“Winter’s Tale,” “Class of 1999 II”), and Ted Raimi (“Midnight Meat Train”).
The story of “Maniac Cop 3” picks up some time after the events of “Maniac Cop 2,” after the honorable burial of Matt Cordell following his name being cleared. However, a mysterious voodoo priest resurrects the Maniac Cop with unclear motives, while the NYPD is still trying to deal with a crime epidemic on the streets.
“Maniac Cop 3” had a rather poor reception, earning a 4.9 rating on IMDb along with an abysmal 18% Rotten Tomatoes audience score. It is widely considered to be the worst in the series, and was given a thorough roasting by the podcast “We Hate Movies.”
“Maniac Cop 3” was given an NC-17 by the MPAA, which killed any chance of it getting a theatrical release. It debuted on HBO, and eventually got a home video release. I wasn’t able to dig up any budget numbers for the flick, but the fact that it failed to make it to theaters leads me to believe that it was likely a losing proposition.
The biggest problem with “Maniac Cop 3” is that you can tell that the movie was padded out. For instance, the entire final car chase sequence feels like lagniappe: the story is over and resolved, and there’s just no real reason for the chase to happen. However, it does allow Robert Davi to light a cigarette with Maniac Cop’s detached arm, so how upset can you be? In any case, the additional footage throws a massive wrench into the pacing of the film, which wasn’t all that well paced to start with.
Robert Davi gets a lot more screen time in “Maniac Cop 3” than he got in “Maniac Cop 2,” and I think he did a pretty decent job carrying the load as the sole lead for the feature. Of all the problems with the film, he didn’t seem to me to be one of them.
The plot to “Maniac Cop 3” is pretty much nonsense. Essentially, it is “Bride of Maniac Cop,” but there’s no real connection between Kate and Cordell. Further, Cordell’s story is over, and it doesn’t make sense why he would want to come back to life at this point. His drive for revenge is what propelled him throughout the franchise, and in “Maniac Cop 3” it just isn’t there.
“Maniac Cop 3” does attempt to explain Cordell’s seemingly superhuman powers with voodoo magic. However, it is unclear if he was resurrected prior to the beginning of the franchise. It seems like that has to be what happened, because it is never explained how he went from brain-dead to god-like between the events of the back story and the beginning of “Maniac Cop.” However, there is a definite lack of clarity there.
Overall, “Maniac Cop 3” is more of a good-bad entertaining watch that the other two films in the series. The first two are actually pretty good b-movies, whereas “Maniac Cop 3” is just an embarrassing parade of nonsense and behind the scenes drama. That said, there are some entertaining moments, like the Maniac Cop driving a car while on fire, and playing skeet with an innocent pedestrian. If you have the tolerance to sit through bad b-movies, you might want to give “Maniac Cop 3” a shot.