Stop, Police! Exploring the World of the B-Movie Cop

Police movies are nothing new. Since they arrived on our screens in the blundering form of the Keystone Cops, they have delighted us, thrilled us and sometimes downright terrified us. There are so many variations of the cop movie, it seems to fit into any genre. Take Dead Heat (1988) for example, a buddy cop movie that turns into a horror flick with zombies – It indulges us on so many levels! The thrill of cop shootouts, mixed with humorous banter and topped off with zombie policemen.

So what other movies are out there that could indulge in this way? Grizzly Bomb has compiled a few of our favorites.

Monster Cops

WolfCop (2014)

wolf cop

Long before the success of movies like Sharknado and Snakes on a Plane, filmmakers have been fascinated by how extreme a mashup can get. WolfCop is one more in a long line of movies that takes this love of the absurd and rolls with it. The film follows alcoholic cop Lou Garou who becomes a werewolf, but retains his wit and charm (and gets an increased boost in the sexual magnetism department). Still ready to fight crime, he also has to figure out why he has become a wolf man, and if there is a sinister force behind it all.  There is an ’80s throwback quality to WolfCop that gives it an identity all of its own. It also manages to be familiar to fans of a certain era of movies, while still having some fun gore and comedy scenes. In a rare moment probably not seen since The Howling 2, we get to see a Lycanthrope getting it on! Check out more from the WolfCop movie trailer.

Vampire Cop (1990)

vampire cop

Vampire Cop (1990) pretty much does exactly what it says it’s going to do. Lucas is a cop that only does the night shift. So after every shift there is a collection of dead criminals with bite marks and very little blood left in their bodies. Lucas and a local reporter both have set their sights on the same crime boss, so they team up. The tag line on the VHS box says “You haven’t been sucked until you have been sucked by a vampire” pretty much sums up the tone of this one, and if you don’t take it too seriously it’s kind of funny.

Vampire Cop Ricky (2006)

VampireCopRicky

In Korea, there is a film called Vampire Cop Ricky (2006) which has a corrupt cop getting bitten by a mosquito from Transylvania. This gives him vampire powers, but only when he is aroused. With a blood lust as well, he decides to use this power for good and starts to sort out his life.

Midnight Kiss (1993)

Midnight Kiss

Then you also have Midnights Kiss (1993), which is also called Vampire Cop, (leading to much confusion for this writer) which follows Detective Carrie Blass. Not well liked by her superiors, she tries to redeem herself by acting as bait for a serial killer who drains victim’s blood. It works, but she gets attacked in the process.  You can guess where this is going. She turns vamp and then has to find her maker. A film with a vampire cop in the lead role should be slightly more exciting than this, but it gets a bit bogged down in the police side of things, rather than focusing on the supernatural elements.

Maniac Cop (1988)

maniac-cop1

A film starring Evil Dead’s very own Bruce Campbell. He plays Jack, a cop who has a secret. His wife thinks she’s guessed the secret, that he is a killer cop who is plaguing the streets. However the real secret is that Jack has actually cheated on his wife with another officer. Unfortunately for her (and him), after figuring this out she is killed by the Maniac Cop and all suspicions fall on Jack. The film then progresses into a part chase, part investigation with Jack and the officer he slept with (Theresa Mallory) trying to piece together who this killer cop is and survive in the process. Directed by William Lustig (of Maniac fame), it is a dark and gritty tale, with some great performances from all the cast, especially Robert D’Zar as the Maniac Cop. The film has spawned two sequels so far, with Maniac Cop 4 and a remake possibly in the works in the near future.

Scanner Cop (1994)

ScannerCop

Scanner Cop is one in a long line of Scanner sequels. The original by David Cronenberg was, for most horror fans, the first time they ever saw a human head explode. The rest of the sequels slowly declined in quality, forcing them to come up with inventive ways to keep the franchise alive. Scanner Cop is one of those ways.  The fourth in the series, it has rookie cop Sam Staziak, who is also a Scanner (has mastery of telepathic and telekinetic abilities). Sam risks his life and his sanity trying to find a ruthless killer with some veiny heads and explosions along the way. With a slightly bland hero in Sam (played by Daniel Quinn) it is fun enough and has some great little scenes in it. It managed to get a sequel in 1995.

Robotic Cops

Cyborg Cop (1993)

Cyborg Cop

Robocop (1987) has certainly had its influence on the B-movie market, with numerous movies sharing similarities to it. One of which is Cyborg Cop. It stars two brothers – Philip and Jack Ryan – whom are not only both DEA, but surprisingly enough partners as well. One brother is forced into retirement after a scandal; the other mysteriously vanishes after investigating the drug baron Kessel. Turns out the drug baron just happens to be Gimli, or genre actor John Rhys-Davies if you prefer. Kessel is dabbling in cybernetics and guess who one of his test subjects is? Yep, Philip the missing brother is getting geared up to become the Cyborg Cop of the title, while Jack is on a mission to find him. To throw a spanner in the works, Kessel has a cyborg creation already finished, so Ryan and his reporter partner in crime, also have this to contend with. This is cheesy trash from start to finish, but it’s nothing if not fun. Fans of Community should take note as the fake film Kick Puncher always reminds me of Cyborg Cop. They made three of these movies.

Android Cop (2014)

AndroidCop

If I mention the name The Asylum then a lot of you will already know the type of movie this is going to be. For the unaware, The Asylum is a production company that makes most of the knock off versions of big popcorn movies you see for a few dollars in your local mall. Snakes on a Train, Transmorphers and Titanic 2 are all part of their output. So with the remade Robocop just arriving in cinemas in February of this year, The Asylum gave us Android Cop. The movie has Black Dynamite star Michael Jai White as Officer Hammond, a cop serving in the year 2045. With his new robot partner, they must track down an android which has the consciousness of the Mayor’s daughter! The Asylum is nothing if not inventive when making their own unique versions movies, and this one is no exception.  Seems more interesting than the Robocop remake in any case.

Time and Space Cops

Trancers (1985)

Trancers

Timecop (1994) was a JCVD vehicle which saw him leaping from future to the past to rectify a change in the timeline.  Trancers also uses this time traveling plot structure. Made by Charles Band and Empire Pictures (Puppet Master, Ghoulies and Re-Animator), it is set in the year 2247 and has gruff cop Jack Deth – fantastically played by Tim Thomerson – who is on the trail of physic criminal Martin Whistler, who turns people into Trancers. Trancers look exactly like us, but on command turn into demented loons. Whistler high tails it to 1985, but Jack is right after him with both of them using the bodies of their ancestors as conduits for their minds in the past, while their bodies stay in the future. They made five Trancer movies in total which had Jack bouncing around all over time.

Dollman (1991)

Dollman Poster

Charles Band obviously likes time traveling cop plot lines, because he did pretty much the exact same thing with Dollman, even going so far so to hire Mr. Thomerson back to play yet another cop. This time his name is space cop Brick Bardo, who after a confrontation with an aggrieved enemy Sprug (who is a floating head after Brick blasted all his limbs off), falls into an energy field and ends up on Earth. The downside is that he is now only seven inches tall. Much like Trancers, it has him teaming up with a local and trying to find Sprug, and the film is much the same in tone and entertainment value. An added bonus here is that the film employs some fun sets (oversized to show Brick’s diminished size), as well as a tiny cop shooting big thugs. He took on some Demonic Toys in the Empire movie Demonic Toys Vs Dollman (1993).

Martial Arts Cops

Samurai Cop (1991)

samuri

The plot to Samurai Cop is incredibly easy to follow. Joe Marshall (the Samurai cop of the title) and his partner/sidekick Frank are in hot pursuit of the Katana gang, when they are not exchanging witty verbal barbs with each other. One of the Katana gang happens to be Maniac Cop himself Robert D’Zar, this time with a beard and playing an Asian.

Samurai Cop is renowned in bad movie circles as a film that gets nothing right. The dialogue is painfully hilarious and the acting much the same. There are also lots of fights and a fair body count is clocked up over the film’s running time, but what seems to stick out to many is the awesome, yet awful hairdo of lead actor Matt Hannon. It’s a classic mullet that seems to have a mind of its own.  The film fails on almost all levels, but because it fails to achieve what it set out to; It becomes something else, a really good bad movie. If you have ever seen films like The Room (2003), Miami Connection (1987), Lost Faith (1992) or Deadly Prey (1987) and wanted to take it to the next level, then this is the film for you.

Omega Cop (1990) & Karate Cop (1991)

Karate Cop

Anyone who hears the plot of Omega Cop may instantly think of Mad Max (1979). Mad Max has a newly recruited police force trying to fight crime in a post-apocalyptic future.  The film spawned two three sequels and launched the career of Mel Gibson. Omega Cop does not have Mel Gibson however. It does have the same setting and a lone cop, John Travis. Solar flares have destroyed much of the life on Earth and left it a barren and radioactive wasteland, while mutating the people caught in its rays. Now this is no picnic, but when John Travis tries to break up a sex trade operation his partners are killed and a solar flare emerges. Unable to return to base (due to possible infection from the rays), he roams the wasteland looking for the man that killed his partners. It did well enough to get a sequel – Karate Cop in 1991 – which continued with Travis as he walks through the wastelands… with karate.

Odd Cops

PMS COP

There is a huge collection of movies that just don’t fit in any category. Take Psycho Cop (1989) and PMS Cop (2014, above) for example. Both have cops that have anger management issues, but for very different reasons. Psycho Cop is a Maniac Cop clone, which has a very ticked off law enforcement officer slashing up teens in novel ways. PMS Cop has Mary, a cop who gives a rapist a good hiding on live TV. She is sent to a drug trial to calm her PMS, which goes horribly wrong, giving her enhanced strength, but also an ungodly rage! Then there is Demon Cop, where a blood infection is turning people into monsters, and one cop turns into the very thing he was fighting against. Finally there are a ton of Japanese cop movies, normally involving young teenagers that somehow manage to get onto the side of law enforcement.  Films like Yo Yo Girl Cop (2006) involves the police recruiting a young lady known as K to infiltrate a school to find terrorists. She has a steel yo yo to help her out. Tokyo Gore Police (2008) has a privatized police force of the future, mutilations are the norm, mad mutants and a samurai cop called Ruka who is trying to find her father’s killer. Future X-Cops (2010) has a Timecop plot vibe to it, with a cop from the future heading to the past to kill a doctor in the present.

This is certainly not all of the titles available. If you have any others in mind that this article may have missed, then why not comment on the section below with your suggestions. Or if your tastes are more comic book based you could always read the strange comic crossovers of comic’s ultimate lawman Judge Dredd.


Images: CineCoup, Showbox, 88 Films, Empire Pictures, Full Moon Entertainment,
Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment, Republic Pictures, 20-20 Vision,
The Asylum, Hollywood Royal Pictures, Cine Excel Entertainment, 4Digital Media.
 

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