Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahn Polizeï, the German private channel RTL's long-running action/crime drama, started its new fall season on thursday night with its traditional 90-minute "Pilotfilm".
Although the show was launched in 1996, Engel des Todes opens its 32nd series (it is aired in "blocks") and has what you can expect from a series produced by action concept : a lot of destruction, car stunts and explosions. But this one also has Bruce Willis in The Jackal... Well, sort of.
Semir Gerkhan (Erdogan Atalay) has taken a desk job at LKA to spend more time with his family. Ben Jäger (Tom Beck) must patrol with a new partner, Claudia (Nadine Wrietz), when Andri Vladic (Ralf Moeller) - brother of war criminal Djavo Vladic (Manfred Lehmann) - and his men sow mayhem and devastation on the motorway. The wrong time for stratospheric pain in the a** conspiracy theorist Oliver "Sturmi" Sturm (Oliver Pocher) to phone Ben. Semir rapidly works again with Jäger but doesn't tell his wife Andrea (Carina Wiese).
It's a tradition since Das Ende der Welt (the brilliant 200th episode), German comedian Oliver Pocher appears each year as "Sturmi" in the premiere. But this once hilarious local version of Leo Getz in the Lethal Weapon franchise or The Lone Gunmen (The X-Files), managed to become cringy in the tiresome 72 Stunden Angst (2011). Not only for his cop friends Semir and Ben but also for the viewers. Thankfully it's up to the supper baddie played by Ralf Moeller to end his agony (and ours) by offering him one of the worst character exits in the history of Alarm für Cobra 11.
Moeller seems to have a good time playing in Engel des Todes, which also guest stars Bruce Willis... Or at least the very talented Berlin-born actor Manfred Lehmann, who happens to be the German dubbing voice of Bruce Willis (amongst others). This can help when your plot borrows to The Jackal (1997). Oliver Sturm too busy being dead, most of the comic relief of the episode is meant to be provided by actress Nadine Wrietz - who deserves better material.
Written by Ralf Ruland and directed by Franco Tozza, this special of Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahn Polizeï leaves the impression of a lavish rerun. Its ratings are lavish too so Cobra 11 could possibly last forever. Engel des Todes looks like it does already.