Knockin' on Heaven's Door

If Knockin' on Heaven's Door is what passes for a smash hit in Germany, America should be glad that not many of their movies make it over here (Tom Twyker movies the exception). Knockin' is essentially a buddy road trip movie, where two guys take a hijinks-filled trip across the country in a car. Only this time, everything is in German. Martin Brest (Til Schweiger, SLC Punk!, Driven) and Rudi Werlitzer (Jan Josef Liefers) meet in a hospital ward. Brest has a brain tumor, and Werlitzer has bone cancer. Both are near death. They are near opposites in nature, Brest is the rebel and Werlitzer is the goody-goody. Werlitzer also resembles Pauly Shore, which is in and of itself a large distraction and an ominous sign.

After getting drunk on tequila, Werlitzer confides he has never seen the ocean. Brest decides that they should. They steal a car and head off in search of one last adventure. The car they stole just happens to belong to two unsavory characters; Hank (Thierry Van Werveke) and Achmed (Mortiz Bleibtreu, The Invisible Circus, Run Lola Run). What follows is a comedy of errors. The police are already after Werlitzer for unspecified reasons and Hank and Achmed's boss wants the car back at any cost. The movie, written and directed by Thomas Jahn, is supposedly a comedy. The humor in it is probably a little too slapstick for American audiences, but there are chuckles scattered throughout the film. The funniest parts are the subtitles, which were horribly translated. Glaring grammatical errors

Both Hank and Achmed are incompetent in the attempts to reclaim their car. Bleibtreu in particular is clueless, both about. The police don't seem too competent either. Knockin' also answers the question "Hey, what happened to Rutger Hauer?" Hauer has a small role in the movie, and by the time he shows up, no one cares. Brest and Werlitzer's friendship is the most implausible part of the movie. They hate each other when they first meet. The only reason Werlitzer allowed to car to be stolen is that he was drunk. He constantly chides Brest about breaking the law, but all of a sudden changes and accepts that he too, is breaking the law. Never quite exciting as it wishes it were, Knockin' on Heaven's Door best serves as filler for a slow week in an art house cinema.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay
1 hour, 25 minutes, German with English subtitles, Not Rated, but contains language and nudity, and would probably get an R.

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