Although the weakest and ultimately unsatisfying link in the trilogy, Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence is nonetheless a mildly amusing horror-action entry thanks to a couple of comedic touches. The 4K Ultra HD arrives with a beautiful-looking Dolby Vision HDR video and an excellent Dolby Atmos track but the same small assortment of supplements, except for a new audio commentary. All in all, the overall UHD package is Worth a Look.
Going into the third entry of the Maniac Cop series, audiences are given a proper cause and reason for Matthew Cordell's resurrection. Or at least, as proper as could be offered with a Voodoo priest (Julius Harris) chanting his magic zombie spell. Unfortunately, as good an attempt to explain Cordell's return as that may be, it remains largely unsatisfying and opens a whole new can of plot holes, starting with the motive for reviving the maniac cop and unleashing his relentless vengeance upon New York City. And on top of that, why is a majority of the story set in a hospital where he fixates over critically-injured beat cop Katie Sullivan (Gretchen Becker)? From the start, Larry Cohen's script grows sillier as it progresses with little explanation, action for the sake of action and arguably interesting but vague social commentary about the media.
The central plot, however, sees Robert Davi and Robert Z'Dar reprising their roles as Det. McKinney and Matthew Cordell with the two once again going after the other although Cordell appears to show a bit more patience. In the mix of this zaniness, Davi reunites with Die Hard costars Grand L. Bush, who played Agent Johnson, and Paul Gleason, who played Deputy Chief Dwayne Robinson while throwing a wrench into the pace with an out-of-place, budding romance between McKinney and Dr. Fowler (Caitlin Dulany). But when it's all said and done, even these few mildly amusing touches do little to ultimately save Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence from itself. A bumbling and somewhat confusing first half gives way to a second that feels like a sudden jump in rhythm with more emphasis on pointless action sequences, making this second sequel a decent cult flick, at best, but ultimately, should have remained "silent . . . forever."
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Blue Underground unleashes Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence to Ultra HD as a two-disc combo pack. The duel-layered UHD66 disc sits comfortably opposite the panel holding a Region Free, BD50 copy of the movie, and both discs are housed inside the standard black keepcase with a glossy, lightly-embossed slipcover. At startup, viewers are taken straight to the main menu selection with full-motion clips in the top left corner and music playing in the background.
Resurrected from the original 35mm camera negatives, the zombified beat cop walks the dangerous streets of Ultra HD armed with an impressive, beautiful-looking HEVC H.265 encode. Overall definition and clarity are immediately notable from the start, showing clean, distinct lines in the costumes, the various buildings and the make-up effects of Matthew Cordell, who looks particularly fleshier and slimier than in previous home video editions. Of course, the movie comes with its fair share of softer, poorly-resolved moments, which are to be expected, but all in all, the native 4K transfer is nicely detailed and sharper than its Blu-ray predecessor.
The video also boasts a significant improvement in the contrast and brightness balance, flaunting vividly radiant whites while a majority of the picture is bathed in rich, velvety blacks. Visibility in the darkest, dingiest corners of the frame are outstanding, revealing every nook and cranny within the murkiest shadows, providing the 2.35:1 image with appreciable dimensionality and an attractive cinematic appeal. Specular highlights supply a surprisingly crisp, luminous glow to the various lights while maintaining extraordinary detailing within the brightest, hottest spots. In Dolby Vision HDR, the movie looks ironically spirited and full of life, showering much of the action in an energetic, electrifying assortment of blues and animated reds. Secondary hues are likewise full-bodied and lively, which really shows in the faces of the cast, looking healthier with a more realistic peach-red tone than its HD SDR counterpart.
Awash in a thin layer of natural grain, the presentation looks amazing, and the second sequel has never looked better than in this UHD edition. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 88/100)
The third entry in the series arrives with a great and largely satisfying Dolby Atmos soundtrack with similar results as the first sequel while also showing many of the same issues as its DTS-HD predecessor. To start, the rear activity comes in at a slightly louder decibel than would be expected for a feature of this caliber. Thankfully, it's nothing too terrible or egregious, but it can occasionally distract with easy-to-localize effects bouncing around in the sides and the heights at a bit more audible level than the on-screen action. Aside from such minor distractions, however, directionality is really outstanding at generating a pleasantly immersive soundfield, as various light atmospherics employ the surrounds and overheads. Meanwhile, the front imaging feels wide and expansive with background activity convincingly moving across the screen and into the top heights, creating a broad and engaging soundstage while exhibiting a clean, detailed mid-range with strong clarity and distinction during the loudest segments. Vocals are precise and well-prioritized throughout so that fans never miss out on the silliness, and the low-end is surprisingly throaty and punchy, providing some appreciable weight to the action. (Dolby Atmos Audio Rating: 90/100)
For this UHD edition, Blue Underground ports over the same set of supplements as before and are available on the accompanying Blu-ray disc, but they up the ante with a brand-new audio commentary by the director, which can be enjoyed on both the UHD and BD discs.
The second sequel in the Maniac Cop trilogy is definitely the weakest of the bunch with a scatterbrained story about Cordell wanting a bride, McKinney finding romance and dark Voodoo magic. The horror action flick comes with a couple of mildly amusing touches of comedy and allusions, but it is ultimately unsatisfying and forgettable. The 4K Ultra HD, on the other hand, arrives with a beautiful-looking Dolby Vision HDR presentation and an excellent Dolby Atmos audio track, offering fans a welcomed upgrade over its Blu-ray predecessor. The same small assortment of supplements is joined by a brand-new audio commentary that still doesn't add much value, but the overall package makes a pleasing enough addition to one's UHD cult collection while for others, this is worth a look at best.
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