There’s still a lot of value in the “Maniac Cop” horror movies (the first two are still top notch slashers), especially as they can be creepy slasher films that confront racism, classism, police brutality and police corruption. The first two “Maniac Cop” films almost hit the nail on the head, all the while “Badge of Silence” doesn’t do much with the formula at all. In the end of the day its low budget is its downfall as the movie does almost nothing to match the pacing and suspense of the first two movies.
Undead Matt Cordell is resurrected by a voodoo priest, and appoints himself the murderous guardian of comatose young cop Kate Sullivan who is nearly killed after a hostage situation. The shootout captured by a couple of slimy cameramen, who edit the footage to make it appear as if she killed an innocent hostage, have tarnished her reputation and Matt is on a rampage to right the wrongs done to her. Investigating all this as well as Cordell’s latest butchery is “Maniac Cop 2” returning hero Sean McKinney, who chases after Matt, investigates the alleged murder, and shares an overemphasized romantic subplot with his doctor partner, Susan Fowler.
Matt Cordell is sadly secondary to the entire premise, making him a prop in a premise quite obviously inspired by “Bride of Frankenstein.” There are so many sub-plots, and side plots and arcs that are unresolved and left dangling, there’s so much with so little pay off. There’s also the fact that scenes from the previous two films are used liberally, which results in a film that feels cheap and slipshod (the movie is set directly after the second film in 1989, but there’s reference to the 1992 Rodney King attack). Robert Davi returns yet again to take on Matt Cordell, struggling to uncover the plot involving a voodoo priest, a revenge scheme, and Cordell’s sudden rise from the grave.
Z’Dar (as the titular Maniac Cop) for the most part is good as Cordell yet again, but the way he’s shot and the bad editing makes him so much less horrifying and imposing than he was in the first two installments. “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence” isn’t the worst slasher sequel ever made, but it’s absolutely the worst, dullest and weakest of the trilogy. Matt Cordell deserved a better send off.
The 4K Blu-Ray Disc for “Maniac Cop 3” comes with an exclusive new audio commentary with Bill Lustig and Joel Soisson, both of whom unload a lot of truths about the production of Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence and the various serious disagreements the two had at the time when the film was being put together. The commentary was recorded in June 2021. There’s also the fully restored original trailer for “Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence.”
The Blu-Ray includes the aforementioned 4K features, as well as “Wrong Arm of the Law: The Making of Maniac Cop 3,” a wonderful featurette which focuses on the very difficult production history of “Maniac Cop 3.” Bill Lustig offers some interesting anecdotes about funding the film, and his displeasure with producer Joel Soisson. Lustig also mentions possibly teaming with Nicholas Winding Refn to direct a brand new “Maniac Cop” movie. Included are interviews with writer Larry Cohen, director of photography Jacques Haitkin, stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, actors Robert Davi, Robert Z’Dar, Caitlin Dulany, and Gretchen Becker, respectively.
There are seven deleted and Extended Scenes all totaling thirteen minutes in length including content like “Motives for Murder,” and “Hospital Hallway.” Finally there’s a poster and still gallery with a collection of posters, DVD covers, and color stills. The gallery was compiled by Gregory Chick. There’s also the original synopsis for the film, in text-format.