Friday, February 3, 2012

Psycho Cop Returns

Psycho Cop Returns (aka Psycho Cop 2)
Adam Rifkin

I went into ‘Psycho Cop Returns’ with a lot of trepidation. The first film had been the rarest of gems, a movie was truly terrible but unrelentingly fun and with a certain charm only b-movies can create. ‘Psycho Cop Returns’ was a sequel that deliberately introduced a lot of comedy as opposed to the unintentional laughs of the original. In my experience movies that are intentionally “cheesy” are almost without fail, awful and trying to emulate the magic of the first would be a sure road to disappointment.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

The film begins in a cafĂ© as two office workers: Larry (Rod Sweitzer) and Brian (Miles Dougal) discuss plans for a bachelor party they are throwing at their office building that night. Sitting not too far away is a familiar uniformed police officer (Robert Shafer), eating a donut and listening in to their conversation.  He questions them in a vaguely threatening manner, skips off to his car full of body parts and the movie is off and running. The plot is pretty predictable: A big office bachelor party with strippers, booze and sneaking off to make out on the copy machine, all interrupted when Satan worshiping Officer Joe Vickers makes his way into the building to start murdering anyone he comes across.  Sharon (Barbara Niven) is staying late, unaware of the party, and as our obvious Final Girl, it’s up to her to get the remaining office drones and strippers out of the building before it’s too late.

Right from the start it is evident that this film is much better crafted than its predecessor, the direction and editing bring a lot of energy.  The film actually manages to evoke a sense of claustrophobia in the dimly lit hallways of the office.  The chase scenes actually have a sense of urgency. There is some very clever framing, such as Vickers’ first encounter with Larry and Brian, where he’s shot to look like he’s fifteen feet tall and looming over them.

The characters are a little more than two dimensional victims waiting to happen but that is a forgivable sin in a slasher movie.  Joe Vickers actually has some funny moments, such as reading Miranda rights to a corpse. I can’t say I ever found him too scary, but he was enjoyably crazy.  The film really shines in its final moments, when it makes a reference to the Rodney King beatings. It really took me by surprise. It’s a witty and brilliant moment and they play it out perfectly. It’s a crowning moment in the movie and a great climax.

‘Psycho Cop Returns’ is a fun comedic slasher that doesn’t skimp on the bloodletting. Despite the odds being stacked against it, it manages to be just as enjoyable as ‘Psycho Cop’ but in a completely different way. I would definitely give it a chance if you enjoy this sort of thing. Make sure you hunt down the original VHS version as the recent DVD has been cut down to an extremely tame R rated cut.

1 comment:

  1. This is a classic. It runs on a bit long, but the one-liners are among the best in screen history. Keep up the great work

    --Mitch, The Video Vacuum