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Alan Smithee
Robert Davi, Robert Z'Dar, Caitlin Dulany
Writing Credits:
Larry Cohen

A supernatural maniac killer cop teams up with a Times Square serial killer.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
French Canadian
Brazilian Portuguese
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 85 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 11/16/2021

• Audio Commentary with Director "Alan Smithee"
• “Wrong Arm of the Law” Featurette
• Deleted & Extended Scenes
• Poster & Still Gallery
• Trailer
• Original Synopsis
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence [4K UHD] (1993)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 2, 2021)

In 1988, a low-budget mix of thriller and horror called Maniac Cop barely made a dent at the box office. I guess it found an audience at home, though, as 1990 brought a sequel, the logically titled Maniac Cop 2.

That one didn’t even get a theatrical release, as Cop 2 went straight to video. It also must have done well in that format, as 1993 brought the final chapter in the series, the more expansively titled Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence.

NYPD Officer Kate Sullivan (Gretchen Becker) deals with a hostage situation, and this results in a death. Though Kate acted in self-defense, a sleazy TV show dishonestly edits footage of the event to make Officer Sullivan look like she murdered an innocent person.

While Kate lies in a coma, her colleague Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) works to clear her name. He gets assistance from a familiar source: vengeful undead “maniac cop” Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar), so the body count builds as the case progresses.

As we’ll learn about elsewhere in this set, Badge came with a troubled production. Director William Lustig – who also made the first two Maniac Cop flicks – wound up with a flawed script that left him with less than an hour of usable footage.

Rather than wing it and shoot what he later deemed to be “filler” to expand the movie to its eventual 85-minute running time, Lustig walked away from the production and producer Joel Soisson took over as uncredited director. For years, Lustig got listed as sole filmmaker, but this 2021 release gives the famed “Alan Smithee” credit used for movies where a director distances himself from a project.

Given that problematic history, Badge works much better than it should. However, one shouldn’t interpret that as an indication this becomes an actual good movie, however.

Indeed, one can sense the issues here, mainly because Badge suffers from an awful lot of filler. Large chunks of film serve no obvious purpose other than to take up time and pad the movie to reach a reasonable feature length.

This leaves us with a slow, haphazard tale that never gets into a groove. Whatever themes and points Badge wants to make end up lost in the messy, vague “narrative” we find.

As I noted in my prior review, I never saw the original Maniac Cop, so Cop 2 became my intro to the series. While it didn’t bring an especially dynamic plot, it at least managed a reasonably coherent tale, one that offered a moderately compelling mix of horror and thriller.

Badge seems to forget about its title character an awful lot of the time. Cordell disappears for massive periods, and that seems like a problem given the film’s ostensible purpose.

Again, the end product fares better than one might anticipate, for as slow as Badge might seem, it still musters occasional moments of interest. As was the case for Cop 2, the film also benefits from a better-than-expected cast.

Davi reprises his role from Cop 2 and gives a performance that shows he didn’t mail in his work. Given the movie’s low budget and low profile, Davi easily could’ve just cashed his check and moved on, but he offers a pretty three-dimensional turn as the underwritten lead detective.

We find more over-qualified actors in the supporting cast, as the film brings recognizable names like Jackie Earle Haley, Julius Harris, Robert Forster, Bobby DiCicco and Paul Gleason. None of them dazzle, but they add credibility to the project.

All of this leads to a slow, meandering movie, but not a terrible one. Though Badge fails to give us a compelling experience, it works better than expected, mainly due to some good acting.

Footnote: Badge briefly reunites Davi with his Die Hard co-star Grand Bush. I don’t know if the producers intentionally paired “Big Johnson” and “Little Johnson”, though the inclusion of Paul Gleason - Die Hard’s weaselly Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson – sure makes it feel like the producers wanted to remind us of the 1988 classic as much as possible.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This Dolby Vision presentation worked much better than one might expect from a 28-year-old low-budget direct-to-video flick.

For the most part, sharpness fared well. Occasional interiors felt a bit on the soft side, but these remained modest and appeared to reflect the source. The movie usually came with good accuracy.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and edge haloes remained absent. With a nice layer of grain, the transfer appeared to lack problematic use of noise reduction, and it also came free from print flaws.

Colors leaned toward the natural side, with occasional forays into more stylized hues. These came across with nice vivacity and punch, and the disc’s HDR allowed the tones to seem especially dynamic.

Blacks appeared deep and dense, while shadows boasted nice clarity. The HDR gave whites and contrast nice impact. Though not an image you’ll use to show off your 4K TV, Badge nonetheless offered a highly satisfying presentation.

Like Maniac Cop 2, Badge took a stereo source and remixed it into Dolby Atmos. Like Cop 2, the multichannel audio of Badge tried too hard to make an aging track sound “modern”.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this left us with a soundscape that used the back channels in a manner that could overwhelm the viewer. Too much of the time, music and effects from the surrounds dominated the soundfield in a way that didn’t seem especially natural.

At least material from the front worked better, as the track offered appealing movement and integration. Through in some directional dialogue and the forward soundscape functioned pretty nicely. That made it unfortunate that the rear speakers took control so often.

Audio quality showed its age but seemed satisfactory. Though speech occasionally became a bit reedy and edgy, the lines always remained intelligible, and they showed reasonably natural tones much of the time.

Music seemed bold and bright, while effects came across as fairly accurate. Some distortion interfered at times, but these elements seemed satisfactory in general. While not a bad remix, the audio would’ve worked better with a little more subtlety.

In addition to the movie’s trailer, the 4K disc presents a newly recorded audio commentary from director “Alan Smithee”. This actually pairs director William Lustig and producer Joel Soisson, the man who completed Badge when Lustig quit.

Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters and the movie’s script, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, music, stunts, and various conflicts/controversies.

Given the troubled nature of the production, I expected a testy, contentious commentary. Instead, Lustig and Soisson offer a surprisingly genial affair.

Not that this means they avoid the difficulties they experienced, but they don’t revel in the misery. Lustig and Soisson cover various issues in an engaging way that makes this an informative reel, if not a chat that comes across with the level of fireworks one might anticipate.

We get additional extras on the included Blu-ray copy, and it presents a featurette called Wrong Arm of the Law. It runs 25 minutes, five seconds and offers info from Soisson. Lustig, writer Larry Cohen, director of photography Jacques Haitkin, stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos and actors Robert Z’Dar, Robert Davi, Caitlin Dulany and Gretchen Becker.

“Arm” covers the film’s development, its original script and changes, casting, characters and performances, stunts and action, and general thoughts about the final product. Inevitably, some of this repeats from the commentary, but “Arm” benefits from the presence of others in addition to Soisson and Lustig and it gives us some good insights.

Seven Deleted and Extended Scenes span a total of 10 minutes, six seconds. Given the fact that so much of the final product offers filler, I felt surprised Badge enjoyed any unused footage.

Unsurprisingly, the clips we find here seem forgettable. They offer some minor character moments and expansions but nothing especially interesting.

A Poster & Still Gallery presents 21 shots, all of which feature ads for the film. It becomes a passable collection.

Finally, the Blu-ray provides the movie’s original synopsis. As mentioned, Badge went through a messy production, one that required major shifts from the original screenplay.

Here “Haitian-born detective Moonjean” becomes the lead character, and huge chunks of the story differ from those in the final film. It’s too bad we don’t get a copy of the entire original script, but the “Synopsis” offers an intriguing look at the movie Badge could’ve been.

Note that the included Blu-ray provides a 2021 release, not the prior BD from 2013. I suspect both offer very similar – if not identical – picture and sound, but since Blue Underground didn’t put out the 2021 BD on its own, I didn’t create a separate review for it.

Though Maniac Cop 2 offered a pretty engaging genre flick, Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence fares less well. Thanks to a good lead performance by Robert Davi, it doesn’t flop, but it also seems too rambling and incoherent to turn into a consistently intriguing tale. The 4K UHD offers very good picture along with overactive audio and a roster of bonus features. Expect a quality release for an iffy movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main