When I originally bought Maniac Cop 3 on VHS (with the dumb title MC3: Maniac Cop 3 on the box art), I become a little worried when I saw two names in the director credits section. The first was of course William Lustig, director of the first two, and the second was some imposter named Joel Soisson. Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome taught me that when a sequel has another director listed along with the original director, it's never a good thing. My hunch was correct and I came out of Maniac Cop 3 a disheartened Maniac Cop fan.
Of course our dead cop Cordell (again played by Robert Z'Dar) lives again but this time he has a crush. The film opens with a rogue police women who is criticized for utilizing too much physical force being gunned down while stopping a robbery (by future Freddy Krueger star Jackie Earle Haley). Our maniac cop takes it upon himself to protect her and in turn kills anyone who publicly denounces her. Our cop Robert Davi returns to try to take Cordell out one more time.
The first two films are well known for being just as much action films as slasher films and here lies our first major problem. The film, for the most part, is rather action less and instead relies on tired, slasher stalking and killing routines. With a rather uninteresting plot the film just meanders to an unfulfilled climax (though the sequence with Cordell driving a police car while engulfed in flames was rather good).
After viewing the film I am not surprised that both director William Lustig and Larry Cohen both disown the film. In my research it seems that Lustig left the film before it was done due to producer interference leaving producer Joel Sossion to finish the rest. Joel Soisson, what the hell does he know? He directed Pulse 2 & 3 for Christ sake, two of the worst horror sequels ever made (not saying the first film was any good to begin with)! The final result of the film gave me the inclination that Soisson was forcing Lustig to make a Maniac Cop film that truly wasn't a Maniac Cop film. As a fan I came out of the film feeling cheated. Thankfully the presence of Robert Davi can make this rather lifeless sequel worth finishing.
Written By Eric Reifschneider