ZERO STARS/**** Image D+ Sound C-
starring Horst Buccholz, Martin Held, Maria Perschv, Gert Frobe
screenplay by Will Tremper
directed by Frank Wisbar
by Walter Chaw Unbearably padded with stock footage and stilted segues around the alleged intrigue of newspaper ethics, Frank Wisbar's abominable Wet Asphalt might discover contemporary relevance for the conceit that a lie about war becomes the biggest story in the world--but probably only if you're so blinded by rage that the picture's shortcomings are secondary. Directed by the obscure Frank Wisbar and starring the recalcitrant punk (Horst Buchholz) from The Magnificent Seven and One, Two, Three, the film follows the trials of a ghost-written young reporter who gets his name attached to a bit of nonsense about Germans living underground after the war. Maybe it's an offshoot of the apocryphal tales of Japanese soldiers crawling out of the Pacific bush years after VJ-Day; more likely, it's the product of a belief that cheapo genre horseshit like this would earn its investment back before people got wise and stayed away in droves. Oh, and there's also some claptrap revolving around a perfunctory love story with wallpaper Bettina (Maria Perschy), to say nothing of the sitting room moralizations with smarmy boss Cesar (Martin Held).