24 September 2003 | ChrisWasser
"Manni, der Libero" meets "Die Vorstadtkrokodile"
It seems to me that the people who made this movie firmly believe that a football (as a European I refuse to use the term soccer ;-) is a much better toy for a ten year-old child than, say, a Playstation and that children not only can but should get dirty while playing. Therefore the movie is refreshingly reminiscent of the children's movies of the 70s, such as "Vorstadtkrokodile". The "wild blokes" (that's what "Wilde Kerle" translates to) use swear-words, they don't always obey their parents, they have tests of courage and there is no stay-at-home or well-behaved mummy's darling to be found anywhere. In other words: As a child I would have LOVED this film and as an adult I still find it very entertaining and worth seeing.
The minor complaint I have refers to the often unnatural dialogue. It's not the fault of the children that made up words like "Hottentottenalptraumnacht" sound stilted and strange; grown-up actors also would have trouble saying lines like this.
Finally I have to say that I like how this film seems to be a real family affair. Because he was unhappy with the way football is taught to children in the F-youth of professional clubs, the director Joachim Massanek founded and coached a "little league" football team for his sons and the children of some of his friends (also called "Die wilden Kerle") and later wrote successful children's books about their adventures. In the film the characters Raban, Maxi, Markus and Juli are played by some of the real "wilde Kerle". Other members of the team are played by the sons of Uwe Ochsenknecht and Rufus Beck (Willi).
Bottom line: This is a film not only for children but for anyone who remembers what it was like to play football at the pitch around the corner every afternoon after school.