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Scanner Cop (1994)

by on 2012/11/03

“Don’t worry. It’s a harmless neural blocker. You’ll be okay in a couple of hours.”

* * *

A psychic cop communes with a painting app. His superior knows the composited perp and vows, “Get a SWAT team together. We’re going to take this guy out for good”, apparently sanctioning murder. Rivals battle to the death through astral projection. And at every opportunity, the camera dips precipitously toward an evil fortune teller’s ample cleavage.

Going into the first Scanners, I was expecting a tich more . . . well, let’s go with “artistry”. After all, I knew it was the brainspawn of David Cronenberg. Going into Scanner Cop, I had no such grand delusions. For one thing, it’s a spin-off affair, three sequels down the line from its originator. As a result, a weaker movie with lower expectations managed to entertain me fairly well.

Fifteen years after troubled orphan Samuel Staziak (Daniel Quinn) is rescued from a shootout, he finally earns his badge, following in his adoptive father’s footsteps. As long as he takes his “vitamins” he’s an average cop in Los Angeles. But when he doesn’t take them, his scanning powers emerge.

These powers could help with interrogations, extracting information, despite the risk of killing his subjects, and possibly himself in the process. During his latest case, as he and a criminal psychologist investigate a string of cop-killings, he encounters a disgraced neurosurgeon who seems to be able to resist his psionics.

Oh, what is a B-movie Scanner Cop to do?

(Hint: it has something to do with nudity, violence, and visual effects.)

I was struck to discover this video was released in 1994. It feels like the crew of The A-Team decided to take on Future Cop. Gritty, vintage Eighties, through and through. Subtract the future noir from Trancers and — literally and figuratively — you’re in similar neighborhoods. In fact, the two would make for a good double bill.

Differentiated slightly by its elevated gore, Scanner Cop is nearly devoid of subtlety. Cheesy concepts, poor makeup, false sets, plasticky effects, choppy stop motion, and unwinkingly hammy acting . . . there are so many ways to critique it, we’d do better to mention its greatest success: it’s fun, and that’s enough. End of story.

No, really.

* * *

Rated 18A

91 minutes

  1. “Scanner Cop” is the horrifying special makeup effects, horror pictures ever. The three tiny heads bulging effects scene was so creepy and cool. They should go back into making a lot of head to body expansions and body bulging explosion special makeup effects, horror movies. But I really think that they should make hundreds new ‘Scanners’ movies and do hundreds of new body expanding special makeup bladders effects.

  2. I also think that hundreds of new special makeup effects, horror film making people should do an over millions of new Head Expansion or Head Mutation horror movies that are similar to all the “Scanners” films; only they should a little bit how the way Rob Bottin did his Monster Effects like “The Thing” and “The Howling.”

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