Lethal Obsession (1987)

  |  Thriller, Crime, Drama

Lethal Obsession (1987) Poster

Several known criminals already have been murdered by a professional killer, leaving no trace but the "ace" game card. The police suspects a new mob is trying to take over the district. The... See full summary »

Add this title to your Watchlist
Save movies and shows to keep track of what you want to watch.



  • Peter Maffay in Lethal Obsession (1987)
  • Tahnee Welch and Peter Maffay in Lethal Obsession (1987)
  • Peter Maffay in Lethal Obsession (1987)
  • Lethal Obsession (1987)
  • Lethal Obsession (1987)
  • Lethal Obsession (1987)

See all photos

More of What You Love

Find what you're looking for even quicker with the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review

User Reviews

22 February 2016 | t_atzmueller
| Double-whammy with extra ham and cheese; a guilty pleasure of its time.
To make a simple story short: the city of Hamburg is plagued by organized crime. There seems to be a looming turf war between rivaling mob fractions and tough-as-nails cop Jan Bogdan (Peter Maffay), together with his partner and best friend Tony (Massimo Ghini), who is having an affair with his girlfriend Daniela (Tahnee Welch), is investigating. Of course this soon makes him a target and Bogdan loses both his ability to walk and his police license in a bomb-attack. Sitting in a wheelchair, Bogdan is still tough-as-nails and seeks revenge on his own – seemingly aided by the mysterious assassin Dr. Proper (Michael York), whereby the word "seemingly" plays a huge role in the world of crime.

I'd go as far as to call "Der Joker" a paradox of its own making: First, let's talk about the good things: the supporting cast is altogether great. Albeit all just having minor roles, actors like Armin Müller-Stahl, Michael York (a highlight in this film), Elliot Gould, Monika Bleibtreu or Karl Merkatz (beloved by Austrian viewers as "Mundl") all rattle their stuff down as professionally as is required. The soundtrack, yes, it is cheesier than a Swiss fondue (produced by ex-Rainbow keyboard-player Tony Carey and Maffay himself), but at the same time catches the 'vibe' of the 80's, stuck solidly in Soft-Rock-ballads and tons of hairspray.

Maffay is of course the center-figure of the whole film. The Romanian born musician is best known for composing schmaltzy Pop-songs and his social-engagement regarding children during the 80s and 90s. Maffay may be many things, but an actor he is not. The opposite is true. It's almost painful to see him try to mimic and pose through the film, almost like watching a toddler trying to crawl across a busy highway. If you want to sum up Maffays facial expression in one word, the first word that comes to mind is "congested" and seeing him try to press out his dialog raises no other sentiment than that of "Schadenfreude". Yet, Maffay stoically struts through his stuff, as if trying to emulate Sylvester Stallone in his early roles (which naturally fails as well), presumably while his more professional co-stars were trying to suppress hysterical gigging. Raquel Welch-daughter Tahnee doesn't fare much better: she may have inherited the looks of her mother, but literally none of her acting-skills.

Patzak, a veteran of Austro-German TV, is doing a job as competent as you'd expect from the director. He'll forever be known as director of the Austrian cult-series "Kottan ermittelt", an anarchistic parody of German TV-crime-series. However, Patzak himself never seems quite sure, whether he wanted to produce an action-filled US-flick a la Stallone's "Nighthawks", an equally action-filled variation of the Schimanski "Tatort" TV-films or a tribute to the Italian Poliziotteschi–genre. There are strong elements of all three genres, which may not be the most imaginative, but makes "Der Joker" great fun nevertheless – if you're into those movies, that is. Needless to say that "Der Joker", despite all his flaws (or perhaps because of them?), has his cult-following and is on his own ground rather recommendable. Whether you're looking for a down-to-earth crime-thriller or a performance that goes back from bad to simply hilarious. 6/10

Critic Reviews


Plot Summary


Thriller | Crime | Drama


Release Date:

15 October 1987


German, English, Italian

Country of Origin

West Germany

Filming Locations

Abaton Kino, Allende-Platz, Hamburg, Germany

Sydney Sweeney Can't Stop Watching Christmas Movies

The star of the new HBO show "Euphoria" talks about watching Christmas movies non-stop, and what it was like working with her childhood crush Leonardo DiCaprio.

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

See what movies and TV series IMDb editors are excited about this month and check out our guide to superheroes, horror movies, and more.

Around The Web


Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com