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Eight years after 'Grijpstra & De Gier' (1979) writer/director Wim Verstappen tried his hand at a second movie adaption of one of Janwillem van de Wetering's novels, 'De Ratelrat'. Rutger Hauer, having found fame in the States was no longer available to play De Gier. At this point in his career, he would probably not have agreed to play second banana to Rijk de Gooyer as Grijpstra anyway. Therefore Peter Faber, who is less of a matinée idol, more of a down to earth kind of guy was recruited to take his place. Both of the G-men get an equal amount of screen time in this sequel, though they often go off on separate diversions. And just like last time, De Gier has a wet dream only to find out he's sharing his bed with his cat.
This time around the Dutch detective duo is assigned to investigate the murder of a well to do Frisian sheep farmer found amongst the remains of a burned out boat in the Amsterdam harbor (premise). Grijpstra has no objections to get out of town for a while, as his wife has chucked him out of their house, though she manages to keep on calling him everywhere he ventures (running gag). On the way to Friesland De Gier meets a female motor-cop named Hylke (Annemieke Verdoorn) and immediately takes a liking to her (love interest). Grijpstra is allowed to stay in Adjutant Oppenhuizen (Pieter Lutz)'s house for the time being, provided he takes care of a rattling rat called Eddie (title explanation).
Unfortunately, even with all the required elements in place, the film lacks a strong narrative. The viewer is introduced to far too many characters who have nothing to do with the plot as both Grijpstra and De Gier disappear from view for long periods of time. Some actors who were in the previous Grijpstra film (such as Sacco van der Made and Jaap Stobbe) make one scene appearances playing completely different parts. The difficult to understand Frysian dialect doesn't help much either. In the middle of this a gang war between a bunch of Chinamen breaks out which leaves the protagonists as baffled as the audience. And just to prove that any scene can be edited together if one provides the cutter with a single insert, Verstappen seems to have shot an overdose of close up of people's hands.
In the end the title explanation provides our heroes with the clue they need to catch their man (the last person you'd expect, naturally). Grijpstra & De Gier end up with the running gag and the love interest, respectively, though I'm still not sure what the Chinese had to do with anything. As an added bonus, Verstappen cast no less than 7 Dutch playmates in small supporting roles (most of them non-speaking). I guess he figured that if Cubby Broccoli could do it in Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only, so could he. It was especially nice to recognize Linda Dubbeldeman (who's Playboy and Penthouse spreads made it all over the world) as one of De Gier's ex-girlfriends, Sjaan. Even in a wide angle, she looked absolutely stunning in a police uniform.
6 out of 10
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