Song of the Day #3,576: ’99 Luftballons’ – Nena

Recently I stayed home from work with a nasty cold and took advantage of the bed rest to sneak in a delightfully fun double feature.

First up was Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde, directed by David Leitch (more on him later). It’s a stylish, violent Cold War spy thriller that further cements Theron’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s most versatile talents.

I’m all excited to see her in full frumpy housewife mode in the upcoming Tully, and here she is doing many of her own stunts as an international woman of espionage, definitively answering the question of whether James Bond would work as a woman. Theron’s Lorraine Broughton would kick James Bond’s ass.

As this is primarily a music blog, I should mention that Atomic Blonde has a wickedly good soundtrack, chock full of 80s New Wave hits such as today’s SOTD.

The film got a lot of attention for one particular sequence, a 7-minute stairwell fight seemingly shot in one unbroken take. It wasn’t — multiple takes were carefully stitched together to give the appearance of continuous action — and it’s even more impressive for that. Director Leitch has spent the lion’s share of his career has a stuntman and stunt coordinator and that respect for physical action makes him one of the best working directors in this often CGI-dependent genre.

Leitch was one of the founding fathers of the film series that made up the second part of my double feature: John Wick: Chapter 2.

Despite my love for 2014’s John Wick, I missed my chance to see the sequel in theaters. In the first film, Keanu Reeves’ legendary hitman is pulled out of retirement when a Russian mob goon steals his car and kills his dog. Wick kills approximately 175 people on his quest for revenge.

In the new film, Wick is prepared to hang up his guns again but he is called on to take a job to fulfill a “marker,” an unbreakable promise between denizens of the criminal underworld. What I love most about these films — aside from Keanu Reeves killing hundreds of people in beautifully choreographed dances of mayhem — is the elaborate system of rules that govern the criminal syndicate.

Like the Continental hotel, a neutral zone, where assassins trying to kill each other moments earlier can sit and have a drink together. Or the way a gold coin given to a woman in a textile plant gains you access to a high-tech tailor specializing in bulletproof suits.

We even get a Reeves reunion with Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne, playing The Bowery King, a crime lord whose underlings pose as homeless people.

These rich details add some cerebral fun to the “gun-fu” action that otherwise dominates the film’s running time.

A third chapter is in the works, due out in a year or so, and I’ll be sure to catch that one in theaters.

[Strophe 1]
Hast du etwas Zeit für mich?
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Denkst du vielleicht grad an mich?
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Und, dass sowas von sowas kommt

[Strophe 2]
99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Hielt man für Ufos aus dem All
Darum schickte ein General
‘Ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, wenn’s so wär
Dabei war’n dort am Horizont
Nur 99 Luftballons

[Strophe 3]
99 Düsenflieger
Jeder war ein großer Krieger
Hielten sich für Captain Kirk
Es gab ein großes Feuerwerk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft
Und fühlten sich gleich angemacht
Dabei schoss man am Horizont
Auf 99 Luftballons

[Strophe 4]
99 Kriegsminister
Streichholz und Benzinkanister
Hielten sich für schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen, „Krieg!“, und wollten Macht
Mann, wer hätte das gedacht?
Dass es einmal so weit kommt
Wegen 99 Luftballons

[Bridge]
Wegen 99 Luftballons
99 Luftballons

[Strophe 5]
99 Jahre Krieg
Ließen keinen Platz für Sieger
Kriegsminister gibt’s nicht mehr
Und auch keine Düsenflieger
Heute zieh’ ich meine Runden
Seh’ die Welt in Trümmern liegen
Hab’ ‘n Luftballon gefunden
Denk’ an dich und lass’ ihn fliegen

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,576: ’99 Luftballons’ – Nena

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    We saw Atomic Blonde, but I haven’t seen either Wick movie. I’m a bit surprised you liked the sequel as much as you did, as the reviews were rather poor, even among those who liked the first one.

    Generally, Wick is not my type of movie, so I’m not sure I’ll even get around to seeing the better received original, let alone its progeny.

    • Clay says:

      On the contrary, John Wick: Chapter 2 has an 89% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, even higher than the first film’s 86%.

      • Dana Gallup says:

        Okay, I stand corrected, but I recall those who saw it among friends and family didn’t like it as much.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    Didn’t see Atomic Blonde but Dad seemed to like it. I was very disappointed in John Wick 2 as it was nonstop violence unlike the first. Glad you enjoyed it though.

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