It’s flashback time, kiddies, so grab your Dramamine and bid one last farewell to your loved ones…just in case you don’t make it back.
April 2012: visionary Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, hot off the critical and commercial success of his stylishly violent (or is that violently stylish?) thriller Drive and possessing of the power to do whatever he pleased, took up the cause of mounting a remake of William Lustig‘s 1988 cult classic action-horror hybrid Maniac Cop. At first it was rumored that Refn might also direct, but those plans didn’t come to fruition. Lustig would also be serving as a producer on the remake alongside the screenwriter of the original, B-movie maverick Larry Cohen. Things go quiet. Refn moves on to direct Only God Forgives. Cut to black…
TWO YEARS LATER
The project gains a little steam when acclaimed comics writer Ed Brubaker, the man who reintroduced Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier in the pages of Captain America, signed on to script the Maniac Cop remake. Financing was being provided by the French distribution and international sales company Wild Bunch. Now that another year has passed, the time has come for the production to announce its director, and it is John Hyams. Too cool.
Hyams recently confirmed the news on Twitter:
Hyams became one of the best action filmmakers working today with the last two Universal Soldier sequels, Regeneration and Day of Reckoning. He brought a sorry joke of a franchise back to prime fighting life with creative and efficient storytelling and some of the most brutal, intense fight sequences the cinema has seen in years. Hyams cut his teeth on the hit ABC crime drama series NYPD Blue as both producer and director before making the leap to feature films. He co-wrote Day of Reckoning and got his father Peter Hyams to serve as cinematographer on Regeneration. You might know Peter as the director of 2010, Outland, End of Days, and two of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s best action features – Timecop and Sudden Death (the latter an awesome movie about karate and fighting, according to Andy Dwyer). Since Day of Reckoning, John has returned to television as writer, director, and co-executive producer on the Syfy series Z Nation.
Brubaker is still writing the script for the Maniac Cop remake. Now that Refn has a cool creative team in place, he just needs to find a cast that can equal the sheer awesomeness of the original’s. Lustig has Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, William Smith, and the late Robert Z’Dar in the title role of a wronged New York cop who comes back from the dead to avenge his death against the people of the city he once protected and the fellow officers he blames for his undoing.
Both the original Maniac Cop and its vastly superior (in every possible way) 1990 sequel Maniac Cop 2 are available on Blu-ray. Since the remake is still in pre-production you have plenty of time to get caught up, and please steer clear of the third movie at all costs.