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cop car tilts in Der Clown
explosion and helicopter in Der Clown

The Clown: Payday (2005) - from director Sebastian Vigg, this action thriller about a masked vigilante is a spin-off production from the 1996 TV movie, Der Clown, and subsequent German TV series which ran for six seasons (a total of 46 episodes) from 1998 to 2001.

In the aftermath of a robbery, there's an award-winning stunt sequence in which a TV-news helicopter (a Bell 407) follows the police chase, and narrowly avoids being hit by several damaged cop cars when the bad guys drop grenades on a deserted main highway. In slow motion, burning cars emerge from the explosion's smoke cloud, flying left and right, and hurtling straight over the low-hovering chopper.

flying cop cars!

After rescuing a female hostage, the heroes get another Bell 407 helicopter (from Rhein Flyers), and return to the shopping mall for a showdown with the villains. Following a shootout, the chopper pilot scoops heroine Leah (Eva Habermann) from the car park, and then hero Max, alias the Clown (Sven Martinek), jumps his stolen motorbike off the mall's rooftop and grabs onto the helicopter skids. When hit by the bad guy's machine-gunfire, the 407 is forced to make an emergency landing on a nearby building, and our three heroes leap to safety, easily surviving the convincing slow-mo crash 'n' burn scene.

Bolkow evades attack in Der Clown
Bolkow in road chase
pilot jumps clear in Der Clown

Next up, there's a MBB Bölkow Bo-105C, used by the heroes to reach the gold reserve storage, from where the villains steal a big truckload of bullion. Army guards shoot anti-aircraft rockets at the chopper, so pilot Dobbs (Thomas Anzenhoffer) does a series of evasive loops and quick turns, leading the heat-seeker back to its military launcher.

When heroine Leah is re-captured by the gang of thieves, hero Max jumps from the Bölkow onto the escaping lorry to perform a daring rescue. Now the villains shoot down the pursuing helicopter, forcing it to land right on top of their lorry. As the getaway vehicle drives beneath a flyover and the chopper hits this road bridge, it's knocked off its perch and blows up (in an impressive mix of special effects).

final explosion in Der Clown

Having made their escape to Rhein Flyers' airfield, the bad guys order Dobbs to load part of the haul of gold onto a Bell 205A-1 'Huey', and then force him to pilot the machine at gunpoint, although the burden of loot keeps this helicopter flying low to the ground, at first. Leah drives a fast car from which Max jumps up into the Huey, and the fight between our Clown 'superhero' and top villain ends with a deadly fall to the ground.

While the heroine's speeding car prevents the villains' cargo plane from taking off the runway, Max unfastens a pallet of bullion stashed in the Huey, Dobbs banks the helicopter, and loose gold bricks are tipped onto the plane's wings and fuselage, causing its destruction in a huge explosion, which obviously kills the remaining baddies.

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