Friday, 22 October 2010


[6.39 - French Time] Lasko - Die Faust Gottes: Das 5. Evangelium (Season 2, Episode 1).

Brother Lasko (Mathis Landwehr) and Brother Gladius (Stephan Bieker) are in the Vatican to pick up their new abbot Georg (Heio von Stetten) when a valuable book is stolen and the secret archivist of the Vatican murdered. Lasko tries to catch the killer but the man drops the book to an accomplice and commits suicide.

The precious stolen book is a biography of a 16th century evangelist. Clarissa de Angelo (Julia Maria Köhler), a Vatican police detective explains that in this book and three other evangelist biographies is hidden a code leading to a fifth one. This fifth gospel countains a secret that could shake the foundations of Christianity.

Launched in 2009 on German private broadcaster RTL, Lasko - Die Faust Gottes came almost as a pleasant surprise for German television fiction. Ratings and market shares were more than spectacular in a country where television viewers tend to favour US shows like House.

But a second season was not guaranteed for Hermann Joha's production company action concept (Alarm für Cobra 11), regarding a budget estimated around 1 million euros per episode for this initial season. The awaited season 2, filmed from April to August in Berlin and its area, finally started yesterday on RTL for eight new episodes.

Lasko, the young monk from Pugnus Dei, an ancestral secret monastic order fighting for justice with the help of martial arts, is back with his epicurian friend Gladius but the show gets some retooling. A new intro, a more urban setting, gone are the origins of Pugnus Dei before the pre-credits sequence, and gone are BKA agent Sophia von Erlen (Simone Hanselmann) and her boss played by in-demand actor André Hennicke. Idem for the wise Abbot Magnus (Karl Merkatz).

Stunts and fights are still up to action concept's top-notch standards but one of this premiere's problems is definitely the Dan Brownesque story as last year the Ares lodge, Lasko's nemesis, evoked The Da Vinci Code less blatantly. Another problem is the annoying Vatican cop character and her forced chemistry with Lasko.

Mathis Landwehr is brilliant, Stephan Bieker steals the show as comic relief Gladius and Heio von Stetten is a great addition to the cast. The episode is visually superb - as usual - thanks to director Axel Sand (also behind the photography), who clearly enjoys his job. But we could rapidly miss the countryside and we need more of Pugnus Dei's magnificent monastery.

And let's hope there will be some improvement next week on the story front. (In German) (In German)

See also:

(C) Thierry Attard

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