= main character or one of the main characters / = secondary part /= mini-appearance


Ludik

To save a kidnapped family member, an enterprising furniture tycoon must use his secret diamond smuggling operation to transport guns across the border.

Episode 1 "A very small fish"

Except some rather mundane family trouble with his son, who does not want to speak, everything seems to run fine for Daan Ludik, his furniture business and the sideline smuggling operation. However, then his alcoholic brother in law gets kidnapped by a mobster guy, who wants to recruit Daan's help in transporting weapons into a war zone. Suddenly, the all-in-control rich businessman finds himself to be a "small fish" in a tank full of piranyas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode rating:

A first episode that generates interest in more. Already we know just enough about the characters to build a connection. I liked the little flashbacks that help to build Daan's character. That glass with coins explains so much. Dialogues are good. Violence is not too much (so far, but I hope, not too much dwelling on torture scenes in the next episodes). A few humorous scenes balance it out, though. All in all, it spreads the spirit of reality and real people.

Rating for Arnold:

Finally he can show his talent and gets enough screen time! Very good portrait of this tough self-made businessman, who tries to stay in control and solve all problems while keeping his family out of it. It is the perfect part for him, a complex character.

Great scenes at the family's dinner table, with his friend Charles at the store, and with his obviously beloved car ;-)

 

Episode 2 "From one brother to another"

Daan's brother-in-law is set free, but his friend Charles who ran the smuggling operation, is missing. Moreover, the police finds the empty furniture truck and asks some uncomfortable questions. On top of all, Daan has to manage the trouble his brother's friend starts to become.

 

 

 

 

 

Episode rating:

I had a few issues with this one. First of all, the new plotline with Daan's brother seems to be a distraction from the main line. (Has some LGTB-stuff to be in every new movie?) Same goes for that B-movie-esque sadomaso scene, that better had been left out, or the golden leather jacket of the detective. I liked the further character development for Daan, that tension between violence and care for his loved ones. However, the scene in the mobster's villa (although nice to watch) seemed a bit forced writing. I mean who'd walk into a mobster's house to hit one of the goonies, unless he's tired of life?! The 'flower lady' is cool.

Rating for Arnold:

Convincing performance of this character who seems to be willing to defend his family and friends by all means necessary. Loved the fine nuances in the scenes with his brother-in-law and his daughter.

 

 

Episode 3 "A fancy piece of wood"

We learn that Charles managed to escape, and is saved by Rina, the manager in the furniture store. Daan tries to play off the mobster against the Zimbabwe warlord, cover his own tracks with the ambushed truck and lead the police astray - and still keep his family out of trouble and worries. Complications will surely come, as the Brigadier is Daan's daughter's new boyfriend's father...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode rating:

A shaky fourth star for this one, as I still find the storyline with Daan's disgustingly whiny brother superfluous. I liked the twists and and character developments. Especially good the characters of Swys and the Brigadier, with all the little nuances. Everyone feels like 'real people', with all the complexities of a human being. Loved the toothbrush-scene at the precinct.

Rating for Arnold:

The perfect part for him, it seems. He makes the challenges of the script plausible: in one scene Daan is just a kid making good-humored jokes about his brother-in-law, in the next he tries to outmaneuver the police and the warlord (and what he can do when it comes to violence we've also seen).

 

Episode 4 "Time waits for no man"

Daan cuts out a plan to frame his opponent Arend fort he diamond smuggling and lead the police on a false track, plus, he prepares to take over the gun trade. However, his stupid family members get in between.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode rating:

Three stars this time. I still like the storyline with Daan, his friends Lil and Charles, and the Brigadier, who are likeable and well rounded characters. A few of the black African characters seem to me portrayed almost in a racist dumb way – but this is a film with black African participation, so it might be okay. For an outsider, it still feels odd, even if funny. Daan’s pathetic brother Hein would better have been cut from the storyline. Also his nephew Markus and Swys earn a lot of credits in this episode. They just seem to be a couple of idiots.

Rating for Arnold:

 

 

Episode 5 "The napkin situation"

Daan arrives just in time to save his new companion "Bells" from the vengeful hands of Swys and Markus. He learns of Rina's betrayes. His brother Hein makes up his mind and leaves. Meanwhile, Arend corrupts police seargant Moyo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode rating:

I liked how the opponents Daan and Arend try to squirm their way out, frame each other and search for new allies. I also loved the two oldtimers with their hotdog-stand as loyal allies.

Meaningful scene when Daan fixes his billboards himself. The whole episode is about loyalties, to the family, to friends - who has it, and who has not.

Rating for Arnold:

Very intense in the scenes where Daan has to convince his Markus that Bells is now his guy, and when he confronts Rina. You feel the sense of betrayal and emotional impact.

 

 

Episode 6 "Who's got your back"

Daan smoothly leads the police to Arend, who in turn tries to outmaneuver Daan with the help of the arab diamond buyer and Seargant Moyo. Swys finally decides to manage his life no matter the costs - and in the end, everything is in place (almost) as planned. However, at a price.

 

 

 

 

 

Episode rating:

Great to see how the plotlines converge. Intense character performance for Daan, Swys and Arend. However, a few plotholes/inconsistensies: in the first episode it looks as if Daan's son is afraid of his father or does not like him, whatever the reason - and now it is told he admires him. Again, someone gets into Arend's house and Inner Sanctum without being noticed. A business tycoon / mobster would have an alarm system and a bunch of armed guards around. It was good to watch, though.

Rating for Arnold:

Great performance from the absolute coolness when Daan talks to the police, to the desperate action he takes to save his son and himself from the killer.

Once again, that seemed to pe the perfect part for him, such a rich multidimensional character.

 

 

All in all, this was a good mini-series with interesting characters one can relate to. Just as Pastor Ludik says in his sermon in the end, it is all about temptation and the promise of more wealth, power, whatsoever. Do you give in - or not? Everyone gave in, on one level or the other, and the lines of good and evil are blurry. It was a very un-Hollywood-like series with an ending I did not expect. Suspenseful, sometimes a bit too violent, lots of f-bombs dropping.

On the downside: there were probably too many subplots for that short time (it would have been enough for 10 episodes, at least). A few things popped up, but later were never used again and seemed somewhat useless. I have already mentioned the plothole that bugged me most: enemies getting into Arend's house unhindered. That LGTB-stuff was also not quite necessary and not really developed.

I'm not sure if I would like to see another season, because the new installments of already finished stories are mostly not as good. In the end, it could only lead to Daan being dead or in prison - so I just like the way it is now.

 

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