Spoilers will plan the getaway.
Okey, technically this is more of an anime-based CGI feature, but since the idea is to have fun let’s try not to fall into technicalities here. In case you didn’t know, there is another modern property that bears the Lupin moniker. This is Monkey Punch’s Lupin the Third, the grandson of the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin created by Maurice Leblanc. This is a very well known Japanese anime IP set in a more modern age, now getting a cgi movie with a new adventure.
Lupin III: The First (2019) was directed by Takashi Yamazaki, who wrote the script which was adapted to English by Richard Epcar. The character was created by Monkey Punch and inspired by Maurice Leblanc’s character. Lupin the Third is after the Bresson Diary, a book encased in a mechanism locked by a contraption that requires much ingenuity to open. Also after the same thing are young Laetitia and her adoptive grandfather Lambert who knows Bresson kept the secret to the location of a piece of extraterrestrial technology known as the Eclipse. For this endeavour, Lambert has allied himself with a group of fanatics of the Nazi regime. You can insert your Indiana Jones comparisons here.
Fortunately, this is still a Lupin adventure and all the gang’s here. Daisuke Jigen, Ishikawa Goemon XIII, Fujiko Mine and of course, Inspector Koichi Zenigata. As usual, Fujiko double-crosses him, Zenigata is after him and Jigen and Goemon have to help him escape. Rookie archeologist Laetitia reluctantly allies herself with Lupin, although not without ulterior motives. This is a rather innocent film, so don’t expect Lupin to get into any risky business.
For the most part, Lupin’s usual mannerisms as well his gang’s signature reactions are all there. The CGI does smooth out things a little, but the character design never betrays the original and it doesn’t lose the cartoonish look and feel. The tone changes a little sometimes as the film shifts from chasing impossible riches to obtaining an alien super-weapon that can destroy entire cities. As it happens, the Nazis whom Lambert has allied himself with are convinced that not only Adolf Hitler is alive, but that they can return him to power and take over the world.
Recommended for light and harmless fun with a little nostalgia for the original cartoon. It retains most of its wit and the action scenes can be fun. I sort of wish they’d focus a lot more on Lupin and his gang because the end-of-the-world plot really gets old fast after the whole quest for the thingamajig ends. Fortunately they never go Nazi-crazy with the flags and the symbols because I’m tired of watching those in the news. On the other hand, I could’ve used a good-old fashioned heist and car chase to close the deal instead of all the alien tech.
That will do for now.