Plan B (2016)

Posted in Reviews by - October 29, 2023
Plan B (2016)

An excellent German martial arts comedy which is both an engaging original concept and a heart-on-the-sleeve tribute to 1980s Hong Kong action cinema, with references to John Woo and Jackie Chan as well as western touch-points, mostly Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie and Edgar Wright. Given its neon aesthetic, synthesiser score, ensemble cast, and its meshing of a contemporary crime story with broad knockabout comedy, it often feels – possibly deliberately so – like a missing ‘Three Dragons’ movie, with comedic beats that land just as accurately as the finely tuned fight scenes. Given that the film is led by three stunt performers – the Berlin-based Reel Deal Action Design – it should come as no surprise that all the set-pieces play like showreel highlights; highly kinetic, flamboyant, and technically brilliant fight choreography which never puts a foot wrong. Can Aydin, Phong Giang and Cha-lee Yoon all play versions of themselves in a strangely meta premise in which they work as under-appreciated stunt performers who keep getting fired by directors who just don’t share their vision. Their somewhat useless boss, U-Gin (Eugene Boateng) books them a gig in a warehouse, but he gets the location details wrong and instead the group – along with their manager – find themselves embroiled in a kidnapping plot involving notorious crook, Gabriel (Henry Meyer), “the Tony Montana of Berlin”. The stunties are forced to run errands for the crooks, which involves finding clues in various different locations, from ‘Little Istanbul’ to a strip-club to a spooky cemetery. Along the way, top stunt performers spring into action to test their mettle, including some real scene-stealers like Heidi Moneymaker, Mike Möller and Lorenz Hideyoshi, who all add their unique flavour to the joyful energy on screen. More experienced actors may have handled the dramatic moments a little better, and a grizzled buddy-cop subplot only ever feels half-baked, but ultimately, the film delivers solid entertainment despite clearly being a small production. Wunderbar!

AKA: Plan B: Scheiß auf Plan A.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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