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ROBERT Z'DAR RETURNS IN MANIAC COP 2

year: 1990 rating: ***1/2
Chalk this up as another sequel that almost equals the original. That's right, an equal sequel. Officer Matt Cordell played by the uniquely awesome, square jawed Robert Z'Dar, is back, and he's not only meaner than than ever, but smarter too.

In one scene he kills one guy, and let's another live... then gives the survivor the gun so the real cops can take care of things on their own. Quite clever for a lunatic corpse. And beware Bruce Campbell fans; he's in only a few scenes till he and another veteran/survivor from the original, Lauren Landon, exit stage left.

The Titular Villain
But it's the dependably intense Robert Davi, holding the reigns as an investigator on the beat, knowing who's behind the string of murders. And he's partnered with pretty cop-shrink Claudia Christian, forced into believing the impossible. And the introduction of Leo Rossi, as a stripper-stalking serial killer (resembling an early seventies Jerry Garcia) who befriends Cordell, is hit and miss. While we get closer with the Maniac Cop through their quirky friendship, gone is the implied suspense of the original (and we have to sit through the exact same prison shower flashback). But lots of cool action abounds thanks to director William Lustig, once again turning an urban landscape into his very own nightmarish playground. And scripted by producer Larry Cohen, who gives even the least important characters something interesting to say, it's an ultra violent, yet equally creative, journey into hell.
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