19 June 2001 | khatcher-2
The story is right, but the rest........
Certain heavy-handedness, so characteristic in German productions of films, TV series and documentaries, is more than evident in this film. The story is not bad, if you like this kind of thing. A photographer goes to China to spend a few dozen rolls of film, mostly on the young Chinese guide who he falls in love with, and the result is that `they' take her hostage thus forcing the photographer to take a can of `tea' back to Germany with him. Back in Köln (Cologne) the local Chinese mafia force him into certain go-between activities, under the threat of not taking care of his beloved Chinese girl-friend. However, things work out in the end and everybody is so pleased - except the spectator who probably expected more from a rather pretentious production. Jürgen Prochnow, who despite having taken part in a few American films but who has mostly limited himself to facile German films, thus guaranteeing the earning of his daily bread without making his life too troublesome, just did not fit in either as a professional photographer, or as a lover of a beautiful Chinese woman who could have been his daughter (sic), and less still as an unwilling cooperator for the German Chinese mafia. He just does not have any attributes for any one of these three possibilities, such that the three together can only spell out a dismal failure. Added to that, the plastic-faced stereotyped horrendous members of the Chinese mafia seem like cheap imitations taken from the Hong Kong genre or even the San Francisco variant: one has the impression of having seen exactly the same in forty other films but that here the illusionary effect is even worse, making a mockery of even the worst-intentioned films of this ilk. Only suitable at about half past four in the morning on some cable TV channel, when the very few awake could not care less about what they are seeing. At any other time, turn it off.