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‘Maniac Cop’ (R)

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 04, 1988

About the only people likely to enjoy "Maniac Cop" are maniac moviegoers, and even they may feel cheated. This film was written and produced by veteran schlockmeister Larry Cohen, but "Dirty Larry" it's not. In fact, the script is at once so undernourished and so obvious that you'll be convinced Cohen produced it via telegram: START MANIAC COP KILLS CIVILIANS STOP CLEANCUT GETS BLAME STOP WORLD-WEARY DETECTIVE FIGURES IT OUT STOP BODIES FALL STOP.

Stop indeed.

"Maniac Cop" -- directed by William Lustig in lackluster fashion -- is not that much more complicated. The best line is in the ad: "You have the right to remain silent ... forever." Unfortunately, that's the only place you'll find it.

Grizzled character actor Tom Atkins, looking more and more like Cesar Romero, plays the detective. Handsome Bruce Campbell, last seen going bloody bonkers in the "Evil Dead" films, is the framee. Luscious Laurene Landon ("Hundra," "All the Marbles") is his love interest. The most interesting casting is that of William Smith, a veteran bad guy in two zillion biker films of the '60s and early '70s, as a policeman (and so what if he looks like Richard Moll's grandfather).

As for that maniac cop, when he finally does appear in good light at film's end, he looks like a Jim Henson creation.

"Maniac Cop" contains violence and gore.

Copyright The Washington Post

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