“Manta Manta: Part Two”: This late sequel should have stayed in the garage

“Manta Manta – Second Part”
This late sequel should have stayed in the garage

The glamor of bygone days is history, car fanatic Bertie (Til Schweiger) has to prove himself again.

© Constantin Film/Bernd Spauke

More than 30 years after “Manta, Manta”, “Manta, Manta – Zwoter Teil” will be released on March 30th and will be disappointing across the board.

If a car smells very strange when you start it and can no longer make a curve, then you should visit a workshop. “Manta, Manta – Zwoter Teil” shows impressively what happens if you just keep going anyway. The sequel to the 1991 cult film “Manta, Manta” wants to score points with a large portion of nostalgia over 30 years later, but feels more like a goofy parody of the original.

That’s what “Manta, Manta – Part Two” is about

Bertie (Til Schweiger, 59) ended his racing career some time ago and now runs a car repair shop with a go-kart track attached. When he falls behind on the repayment of a loan and the property is threatened with foreclosure, Bertie wants to win the 1990s race on the Bilster Berg. After all, there is a Porsche worth 150,000 euros up for grabs that could solve all your money problems in one fell swoop.

With his employees Salem (Tamer Tıraşoğlu) and Tyrese (Ronis Goliath) as well as his old buddy Klausi (Michael Kessler, 55), he is now trying to get a suitable set of wheels. He also has to deal with his spoiled son Daniel (Tim Oliver Schultz, 34), whom his ex-wife Uschi (Tina Ruhland, 56) delivers to him one day.

Humor to get used to

Anyone who wants to watch “Manta, Manta – Zwoter Teil” to have a good laugh will be bitterly disappointed in these more than two hours of slapstick. Clichés, faecal jokes and highly questionable role models are strung together every minute. It doesn’t help that the “Who’s Who” of the current German acting landscape is represented. Guest appearances by “PS professional” Jean Pierre “JP” Krämer (42), ex-national player Lukas Podolski (37) or TV commentator Frank Buschmann (58) fit seamlessly into the general level of the rest of the story.

Unsympathetic Characters

A big problem of the poor story is that the protagonists seem unsympathetic. The spoiled son Daniel, for example, actually remains a selfish puke until the end. His sentimental purification speech doesn’t become more believable just because it’s accompanied by cheesy music. One secretly constantly hopes that poor Leonie (Emma Drogunova, 27) will think again and let go of him.

Schweiger’s character Bertie, on the other hand, solves her conflicts primarily with her fist. In addition, the ruffian bullies Klausi and his employees non-stop. One wonders at many points why Klausi is still his friend in the story and why Michael Kessler allowed himself to be won over for this role again. Bertie doesn’t get any more sympathetic because Uschi’s new partner Gunnar (Moritz Bleibtreu, 51) appears as a snooty control freak. The famous Schweiger dog look doesn’t help either.

A film as an infomercial

Even the “James Bond” series cannot do without some targeted product placements. In principle, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, these are what make a film possible in the first place. But the penetrance with which a well-known fitness chain and a type of beer is advertised here is second to none. One scene even looks like a real commercial where only the logo and a voiceover are missing.

Bright spots for nostalgics

There is almost nothing left of the rough Ruhrpott charm that the first “Manta, Manta” exuded in 1991. Only the dialogues between Bertie and Uschi occasionally grant a dreamy look into the past. At least you can tell that Tina Ruland enjoyed this little journey through time. And maybe you like the eponymous car, which again plays a decisive role here. The final race with the vehicle is also the only highlight.

Otherwise, however, this strip completely lacks the feeling for what made the first part so special. At the time, he didn’t necessarily shine with high standards and polished dialogues, but his heart was in the right place and functioned as a rough declaration of love to a car. The cult of the famous Opel model is limited to a few scenes in the sequel. Fans from back then, for whom the film was primarily intended, will probably shake their heads in disbelief. And nobody has to go to the cinema to see classics like “Wind of Change” or “Jenseits von Eden”.

Conclusion

If “Manta, Manta – Second Part” were a car, it would certainly not have passed the TÜV. This collection of embarrassing gags, problematic role models and unlikable characters is a lot but an unworthy sequel to one of the most iconic flicks of the ’90s. Til Schweiger probably wanted to prove that he can still do justice to his monument from back then and failed miserably.

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