Tag Archives: william lustig

Larry Cohen Collection: “Uncle Sam”

Uncle Sam

For this July 4th, I’m going to celebrate by taking a look at the horror film Uncle Sam, from the writer/director team behind the Maniac Cop trilogy.

The plot of Uncle Sam is summarized on IMDb as follows:

Desert Storm vet who was killed in combat rises from the grave on July Fourth, to kill the unpatriotic citizens of his hometown, after some teens burn an American flag over his burial site.

The screenplay for Uncle Sam was, of course, written by Larry Cohen, the visionary horror writer/director behind The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent, It’s Alive, and God Told Me To. This was one of four of his screenplays that hit the screen in 1996, along with Mark L. Lester’s The Ex, Anthony Hickox’s Invasion of Privacy, and the television movie Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct: Ice.

Uncle Sam was directed by William Lustig, who had previously collaborated with Larry Cohen on Maniac Cop, Maniac Cop 2, and Maniac Cop 3: The Badge of Silence. Lustig is best known for his gritty, b-level flicks like Maniac and Vigilante, which have built a significant cult following over the years.

The cast of Uncle Sam includes the likes of William Smith (Maniac Cop, Any Which Way You Can, Hell Comes To Frogtown), David ‘Shark’ Fralick (Inferno, The Young and The Restless, Soultaker), Bo Hopkins (The Wild Bunch, From Dusk Till Dawn 2, Tentacles), Isaac Hayes (Escape From New York, South Park), Timothy Bottoms (Top Dog, The Last Picture Show, That’s My Bush), Robert Forster (Lucky Number Slevin, Jackie Brown, Avalanche, Alligator, Vigilante, Maniac Cop 3), and P.J. Soles (Halloween, Stripes, Carrie).

The cinematographer for Uncle Sam was James A. Lebovitz, who shot a number of films for Troma Entertainment in the 1980s, including The Toxic Avenger, The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III, and Troma’s War.

The editor for the film was Bob Murawski, who eventually won an Academy Award for cutting The Hurt Locker. His other credits include such titles as Gone With The Pope, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, Drag Me To Hell, Army of Darkness, Hard Target, Night of the Scarecrow, and From Dusk Till Dawn 2.

The musical score for Uncle Sam was provided by Mark Governor, who also composed music for Pet Sematary II and the Bruce Campbell flick Mindwarp.

Reportedly, the production team for Uncle Sam failed to disclose to authorities that they would be firing a cannon late at night for the film’s finale, which led to a number of noise complaints from local citizens.

Uncle Sam is dedicated to Lucio Fulci, an immensely influential Italian horror, western, and exploitation filmmaker who died just prior to the film’s release in 1996.

A blu-ray of Uncle Sam was released in June 2010 by Blue Underground, featuring commentary tracks by Larry Cohen, William Lustig, and Isaac Hayes, among others. Blue Underground, which was founded by Lustig, specializes in releasing cult, exploitation, and foreign horror movies on DVD and blu-ray.

In July of 2016, John Campopiano of Dread Central interviewed David “Shark” Fralick, who portrayed the patriotic killer in Uncle Sam. In regards to the movie and the role, he said:

I loved the original idea — that he was this patriotic killer. I loved the concept. Then there was all of the makeup sessions. (I didn’t do the burn, but I did all the rest of the stunt work.) It was four and a half hours in makeup and four and a half hours out of it. It really just tore my skin up. What they do is they use alcohol on skin to get the oils off so that everything they needed to put on you would adhere. It was pretty amazing. In fact, I still have the last mask I wore in the film!

From what I can gather, Uncle Sam did not receive a theatrical release domestically, and was distributed primarily on home video. I found an unsubstantiated budget estimate of $2 million, though that accuracy is certainly questionable. It is hard to say whether this flick ultimately turned a profit, but I imagine it probably broke even: I’m sure it was intentionally kept cheap for that very reason.

Critically, Uncle Sam isn’t exactly beloved. Its 2010 blu-ray release brought it back into the public consciousness for re-assessment, to mixed results. Steve Barton wrote for Dread Central that “the way underrated slasher flick Uncle Sam does a fine job of bringing the pain while we celebrate our independence,” while Nathan Rabin of The A/V Club argues that it is “incoherent as social satire and perfunctory and routine as a horror film.”

Honestly, I think Rabin and Barton are both right about Uncle Sam. The satire and social commentary isn’t quite fully cooked: there’s just a kernel of an idea in regards to military worship and conditioning children to violence, but it isn’t much built upon. Likewise, it is a pretty run-of-the-mill horror flick, in the tradition of the various lesser holiday slashers. At the same time, if you go into the movie with low expectations, and just want a formulaic slasher with some fun effects and kills, this is exactly what you want.

As far as the cast goes, it is always damn cool seeing Isaac Hayes pop up in movies. I absolutely loved him in Escape From New York, and I’m a little surprised he didn’t pop up in more over the years. This movie in particular could have used more of him: his relationship with Sam is only somewhat touched upon, and isn’t dug into too deeply. Another sequence or two with him maybe could have helped tie some themes together. Interestingly, one of his biggest emotional moments in the movie uses dialogue copied straight out of the Maniac Cop 2 screenplay: he tells a brief anecdote about being covered under dead bodies during war, remembering specifically how cold they were, and then recalls that the killer had a similar chill.

Speaking of the Maniac Cop franchise, the makeup effects on Sam reminded me specifically of Maniac Cop 2 and Maniac Cop 3. There is a lot of emphasis on his mutilated hands in the first act, which was also specifically done with Cordell in the Maniac Cop movies. Likewise, the makeup effects have a distinctly burned and partially decomposed appearance, not unlike the more deteriorated and decomposed facial work from the later Maniac Cop flicks. When they are shown, the effects look pretty decent, though they are kept concealed under a mask most of the time. Notably, Lustig managed to use shadows and blocking to conceal Cordell’s face in Maniac Cop, and I think that made a big difference in how intimidating the character came off, particularly when compared to the masked Uncle Sam, who never seems nearly as imposing or frightening here.

One of the biggest problems with Uncle Sam is the terrible lead child actor. Any time a movie has to lean on a child actor, it is a big risk: children who can act are rare, and ones who can carry a leading role are even rarer. In this case,  a lot of the movie rides on the character of Jody, who is played by a very young Christopher Ogden. There are times where Ogden is totally serviceable, but they are few and far between. For the most part, his line deliveries are just off, and he puts in a physical performance like he’s robot.

At the end of the film, there is supposed to be some ambiguity as to whether Jody is good or evil: this is supposed to be shown through a close up on his face, where his expression is intended to instill the audience with a sense of doubt. Unfortunately, Ogden just can’t do it: his eyes are expressionless, his mouth is unmoving, and his body language is neutral. If it weren’t for the music cue and a “shattering” effect to end the shot, I wouldn’t have realized that there was a potentially sinister undertone.

Personally, I think one of the biggest problems with this movie is the screenplay: it is a bit too busy, particularly in regards to the characters. For instance, Uncle Sam has both a sister and a wife, who live together and serve almost identical purposes. Likewise, there are two child characters with “unique” connections to Uncle Sam: one is a random kid with a psychic link, and the other is his nephew, who he is trying to recruit. To me, it seemed like both the psychic link kid and the wife were completely unnecessary: their key traits could have been taken on by his sister and nephew, respectively. It actually would make more sense for Jody to have a psychic connection to Sam, and the coalescing of the wife and sister would play more into the incestuous themes that are mentioned in the story.

Overall, as I previously mentioned, Uncle Sam has some value as a shallow, formulaic slasher movie. It was definitely a bit late to the game, though: this would have fit in great in the 1980s, but seems dated for the mid-1990s. It does provide a 4th of July themed horror movie, though, if that is what you are looking for. While this is definitely not one of Cohen’s better screenplays (nor one of Lustig’s better movies), there is definitely a kernel of an interesting idea here, even though nothing much comes of it.

Advertisements

Larry Cohen Collection: “Maniac Cop 3”

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence

maniaccopthree2

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.

maniaccopthree3The 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”).

maniaccopthree6Outside of Larry Cohen and Joel Soisson, the producers on “Maniac Cop 3” included Michael Leahy (“Pulse”) and W.K. Border (“Trekkies,” “The Prophecy,” “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”).

The editors on “Maniac Cop 3” included David Kern (“Maniac Cop,” “Maniac Cop 2”), Michael Eliot (“Stargate SG-1,” “Stargate Atlantis”), and Rick Tuber (“Lie to Me,” “Nash Bridges,” “ER”)

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.”

maniaccopthree1The 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.

maniaccopthree5“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.

maniaccopthree7Robert 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.

maniaccopthree4Overall, “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.

Larry Cohen Collection: “Maniac Cop 2”

Maniac Cop 2

Print

Next up in the Larry Cohen Collection is “Manic Cop 2,” which continues Matt Cordell’s crusade for revenge against the city officials and criminals who set up his imprisonment and murder.

“Maniac Cop 2” was once again written and produced by Larry Cohen, with William Lustig also taking up the directorial reins for the sequel.

The director of photography on “Maniac Cop 2” was James Lemmo, who was one of the cinematographers from the first “Maniac Cop,” and also worked with William Lustig on “Vigilante.”

The effects team on “Maniac Cop 2” included Wayne Beauchamp (“Pray For Death,” “Children of the Corn,” “C.H.U.D. 2: Bud the Chud”), Bill Miller-Jones (“Hell Comes to Frogtown”), Dean Gates (“Day of the Dead,” “Super Mario Bros,” “Maximum Overdrive”), John Carter (“Evilspeak,” “The Sword and The Sorcerer”), John Eggett (“Heart Condition,” “Deadly Games”), Jeff Naparstek (“King of New York,” “Winter’s Tale”), Matt Vogel (“C.H.U.D.,” “The Thin Blue Line,” “American Gangster”), and Larry Arpin (“Blood Diner,” “Evil Dead II,” “The Dentist”).

maniaccoptwo5Outside of Larry Cohen, one of the other producers on “Maniac Cop 2” was John Engel, who also produced “James and the Giant Peach” and worked on the film “Cabin Boy.”

“Maniac Cop 2” was again edited by David Kern, who, in addition to “Maniac Cop,” also worked on films such as “It’s Alive III,” “Crazy In Alabama,” “Rush Hour,” “Sky High,” and “George of the Jungle.”

The score for “Maniac Cop 2” was once again provided by Jay Chattaway, who also provided music for “Maniac,” “Vigilante,” and the Steven King adaptation, “Silver Bullet.”

Bruce Campbell, Robert Zdar, and Laurene Landon reprise their roles from “Maniac Cop,” joining new additions to the franchise Robert Davi (“Die Hard,” “License to Kill”), Clarence Williams III (“Half Baked,” “The Butler”), Claudia Christian (“Babylon 5,” “Arena”), Michael Lerner (“Barton Fink,” “Godzilla”), Charles Napier (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “Rambo: First Blood Part II”), and Leo Rossi (“Halloween II,” “Leonard Part 6”).

maniaccoptwo4The story of “Maniac Cop” picks up right after the events of “Maniac Cop,” with the NYPD still not acknowledging the survival of Matt Cordell, but clearing previously accused detective Jack Forrest regardless. However, the killings continue, and another serial killer arises, preying on exotic dancers throughout the city. Against the odds, the two killers join forces against the police and the city, out for revenge and chaos.

Director Sam Raimi (“Army of Darkness,” “Spider-Man”) once again appears in a cameo role, as the well-noted and instantly-recognizable character actor Danny Trejo (“Anaconda,” “Machete,” “Breaking Wind”) in one of his first on-screen performances.

“Maniac Cop 2” currently has a 5.8 rating on IMDb, as well as Rotten Tomatoes scores of 60% (critics) and 41% (audience), which is interestingly higher than the original “Maniac Cop.”

The budget of “Maniac Cop 2” was notably higher than the original, topping off at an estimated $4 million. The movie, however, went direct to video in the United States. I wasn’t able to dig up any gross information, but given the lack of success of the first film, I would be shocked if it made a significant profit over its foreign theatrical run.

maniaccoptwo2“Maniac Cop 2” received praise for its use of New York City locations and excellent practical effects, particularly the pyrotechnics in the film’s climax, which make for a significantly explosive conclusion.

Some fans of “Maniac Cop” were upset by the quick dispatching of the characters that returned from the first film. My point of view on that is, the main character of “Maniac Cop” (Tom Atkins) didn’t make it all the way through that movie, so how can it be a surprise that main characters get killed off here?

maniaccoptwo3William Lustig said in an interview that he considers “Maniac Cop 2” to be his best work, saying:

I do consider ‘Maniac Cop 2′ to be my best film. It was the film [where] I felt as though myself and my crew were really firing on all cylinders. And I think we made a terrific B-movie. We tried to make it a better film [than “Maniac Cop”]. Take the ideas and concepts and first and improve upon them.

“Maniac Cop 2” provides more action than the first movie, which is one of the biggest complaints I noticed people having with it. At the same time, that happens at the expense of some of the effective atmosphere of “Maniac Cop,” but only to a certain degree.

Overall, “Maniac Cop 2” is a pretty solid sequel to the original, and is far better than the typical horror sequel by far. Robert Davi is a good addition to the franchise without any doubt. However, it feels a little bit like two movies forced into one: the first segment of the film basically just wraps up the story of the first, and then it gets on to its own story. It makes the whole film feel just a little weirdly paced and off-focus.

For fans of “Maniac Cop,” Larry Cohen, or William Lustig, this is a film worth checking out. For fans of Bruce Campbell, he doesn’t appear in much of the movie, and isn’t his typical hammy self either. This isn’t a campy movie, and if you have your expectations about that straight going into it, you’ll find something to enjoy.

Larry Cohen Collection: “Maniac Cop”

Maniac Cop
maniaccop1

Next up in the Larry Cohen Collection is the cult classic “Maniac Cop,” a battle of the chins between Bruce Campbell and Robert Z’Dar.

“Maniac Cop” was written and produced by Larry Cohen, and ultimately spawned a franchise of three movies. The film was directed by William Lustig, who is best known for his sleazy cult classic films “Maniac” and “Vigilante.”

The cinematography on “Maniac Cop” was provided by two people: James Lemmo (“Maniac Cop 2”) and Vincent J. Rabe (“Hit List”), neither of whom have had much in the way of significant film credits.

The effects team for “Maniac Cop” included makeup work by Brad Look (“Thor,” “Star Trek: First Contact,” “The Hunger Games”) and Bill Miller-Jones (“Hell Comes To Frogtown,” “Maniac Cop 2,” “Maniac Cop 3”), visual effects by Larry Arpin (“The Dentist,” “The Expendables,” “Leprechaun,” “The Ambulance”), and special effects work by David Atherton (“Face/Off,” “Shocker”), John Naulin (“From Beyond,” “Re-Animator,” “Highlander II,” “The Omega Code”), Paul Staples (“Fatal Games”), and Laszlo Stumpf (“Cyborg,” “American Ninja 2”).

maniaccop3Aside from Larry Cohen, the producers on “Maniac Cop” were James Glickenhaus (“Frankenhooker,” “The Exterminator,” “McBain”) and Jefferson Richard (“976-Evil II”), who also served as a second unit director on the film

The editor for “Maniac Cop” was David Kern. who also did editing work on “Rush Hour,” “Rush Hour 2,” “The Running Man,” and “It’s Alive III.”

The music for “Maniac Cop” was provided by Jay Chattaway, who also scored William Lustig’s movies “Maniac” and “Vigilante,” as well as the Larry Cohen film “The Ambulance” and the notorious Chuck Norris flick “Invasion U.S.A.”

The art direction and production design on “Maniac Cop” was provided  by Jonathan Hodges, who has worked as a property master and carpenter on films like “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Chopping Mall,” “House,” and “Critters.”

The cast of “Maniac Cop” reads like a b-movie all-star team: Bruce Campbell (“The Evil Dead,” “Army of Darkness”), Tom Atkins (“Halloween III,” “The Fog”), Robert Z’Dar (“Soultaker,” “Samurai Cop,” “Tango & Cash”), Richard Roundtree (“Shaft,” “Q: The Winged Serpent”), Jill Gatsby (“Vampire’s Kiss,” “Class of 1999,” “The Ambulance”), James Dixon (“It’s Alive”), and beloved director Sam Raimi (“The Evil Dead,” “Drag Me To Hell”).

maniaccop6The story of “Maniac Cop” follows an investigation into a series of murders committed by a man dressed as a police officer in the streets of New York City. The NYPD is desperate to find the culprit as the public is whipped into a frenzy of suspicion and distrust of the department. Meanwhile, the investigation begins to uncover a possible suspect with a motive for revenge against the NYPD brass.

Two of the stars of “Maniac Cop,” Bruce Campbell and Robert Z’Dar, have both gone by the nickname of “The Chin” due to their distinctive facial structures.

Sam Raimi, the acclaimed director of films like “The Evil Dead” and “The Evil Dead II,” appears not only as an actor in “Maniac Cop,” but also worked behind the camera for the St. Patrick’s Day parade sequence in the movie.

maniaccop9Famed boxerJake LaMotta, whose biography provided the source material for Martin Scorcese’s “Raging Bull,” acts in a brief cameo in “Maniac Cop” as one of the unnamed police officers.

“Maniac Cop” was filmed back to back with another William Lustig film, “Hit List,” which starred Leo Rossi (“Leonard Part 6,” “Maniac Cop 2”) and Lance Henriksen (“Aliens,” “The Last Samurai”).

maniaccop2Over the past couple of years, rumors have surfaced about a potential “Maniac Cop” remake or prequel involving director Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive,” “Only God Forgives”) and writer Ed Brubaker (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), though I haven’t been able to dig up anything since May 2014.

“Maniac Cop” was not particularly well-received, and currently has Rotten Tomatoes scores of 50% (critics) and 39% (audience), along with an IMDb rating of 6.0. That said, it certainly has a dedicated cult following.

“Maniac Cop” didn’t make money on it’s limited theatrical release, grossing under 700,000 on a 1.1 million budget, but still turned into a horror franchise of some note with a series of three films.

Just as any good horror movie should do, “Maniac Cop” latches onto a public anxiety. In this case, this fear is of the police abusing their position of power, which puts people in a position of helplessness due to the corruption in the institution.

“Maniac Cop” doesn’t exactly take a stance on the police in general, and presents both pro- and anti-cop sentiments. The corruption of the institution is emphasized, as well as the (justified) lack of public trust in it. At the same time, a few of the police officers are portrayed as “good” cops: honest, principled, and willing to stand up to the institution at its worst.

maniaccop7“Maniac Cop” received a harsh reception at the time, in the sense that people seemed to either love it or hate it. It is undoubtedly a b-movie made with generally low quality, which turns off a certain amount of viewers to start with. It also takes elements from a number of genres, such as mystery, slasher, and your typical cop flick, which is a mixture that didn’t necessarily work for everyone. Further, it isn’t as campy or hammy as you might expect for a film with Bruce Campbell in the lead: he actually plays his role pretty straight, which is unusual. It doesn’t help that the movie is also a pretty slow burn, something that most slasher fans don’t have much patience for.

Personally, I like “Maniac Cop.” It is a bit slow, but the intrigue and performances kept me from ever getting bored with it. Likewise, the mixture of the genre elements made it a little more interesting to me than just your typical slasher flick, and the elements of social commentary on the police were more than welcome. I also appreciate that it maintains some of the gritty ambiance of William Lustig’s earlier film “Maniac,” which is one of the stronger elements of that flick.

maniaccop8Something that I will agree with the detractors of “Maniac Cop” is that Campbell isn’t quite campy enough for what audiences expect from him, which may have been intentional on either his or Lustig’s part. I also would have loved more of Richard Roundtree in the film, to help illustration more of the corruption in the department (also because he’s just great).

Overall, I think b-movie fans will generally find things to enjoy about “Maniac Cop,” though I think specially Cohen and Lustig fans will like it the best of anyone. General audiences are a bit of a toss-up: I’m sure there are many who would find it too dull, but I don’t think that is necessarily true across the board. I’m interested to see if the remake actually happens, because I feel like Refn’s style could fit the film quite well, and adapt the story effectively to current audiences. I also think that now may be the perfect time to bring back Cordell, as public anxieties about police run amok seem to be at an all-time high.