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Lupin The Third (Live-Action) – Review

Lupin-The-Third-Live-Action-Blue-Ray-Beauty-Shot-01Dangerous is a man who knows what he wants and knows exactly how to get it, dangerous is a woman greedier and more cunning than that man, dangerous is a team of international thieves each more skilled than the last, and dangerous is the one willing to betray them all.

Directed by critically acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Ryuhei Kitamura, the live-action Lupin The Third film follows another of the master thief’s standalone exploits as he joins a syndicate titled The Works lead by one Thomas Dawson; a man well-known in the underground community who was also quite familiar with Lupin’s famed grandfather.

Tasked with finding the legendary Crimson Heart, the team is divided when one of it’s members reveals their true motives for collaborating and does something they’ll quickly come to regret. A mission to collect an ancient treasure becomes a journey for revenge as the surviving team members band together, once again, to get back what was once in their hands, and to avenge a life that meant so much to them all.

With Lupin now at the very head of the spear, this team made up of two master thieves, one eagle-eyed bodyguard, a masterful Samurai, and a technological genius, are all that is left of what was once a solid organisation. That doesn’t make them any less powerful of a team though. In fact, this turncoat will have to watch their back from now until the end of time. It’s the price you pay when you mess with the legendary Lupin The Third.

Interpol Inspector Zenigata begins a world-wide hunt for the infamous thief Arsène Lupin III, who, with his cavalcade of collaborators infiltrate a highly secured fortress-like safe named the ‘Ark of Navarone’ to claim the “Crimson Heart of Cleopatra”. – Madman Entertainment

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The live-action Lupin The Third movie is, at it’s core, quite a basic heist film very much reminiscent of The Italian Job and it’s 2003 remake. Director Ryuhei Kitamura made some clear decisions while making this film that allowed for it to be accessible to a wider audience but, in the process, it ever so slightly diminished the name of Lupin The Third. Although not enough to make this a terrible film for those of you out there like myself who are fans of the series, the simplification of the plotline and characters is very much noticeable.

Though it is a standalone story, the live-action film features most of the main cast of the series The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and thanks to it being a two-hour long film it is more beneficial for you to watch the series first, just so you can understand these characters on a deeper level. The live-action film doesn’t feature much character development and, at times, it even forces them to stray from the character types they were built up to be over time, but I can absolutely see why: To make this a movie that can be enjoyed by not only fans of the series but those of you out there who are simply looking to watch a good heist film. Thankfully…a good heist film is exactly what this is!

The live-action film gives off a classic Lupin The Third vibe, but it’s modern-age setting and simple plot development makes this seem like your average silver screen adaptation. Fact is; it was really fun to watch! Even if you’re not a Lupin The Third fan, I feel as though this movie can still be enjoyed for exactly what it is; a fun action film with enough drama to keep you invested, and enough Lupin-esque charm to keep you excited.

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Visually this movie is absolutely amazing. An extra special thank you goes out to Madman Entertainment not only for providing us with the review copy for this film but for giving us the Blu-Ray edition which, in my humble opinion, is the only way to watch this film. With masterful CGI, beautiful location shots, and a cast of characters each looking almost exactly like their Anime counterparts, it’s hard to take your eyes off of the live-action Lupin The Third film.

It is clear that Ryuhei Kitamura knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to film making. The camera work throughout the film was no less than masterful, and the amazing editing made this live-action movie so much like the Anime it was based off of. From the very first shot of the film to the very final, this movie simply looked amazing. Nothing seemed out of place, nothing seemed unnecessary, and everything was pulled off with grace and style; much like Lupin himself.

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Tying the entire movie together is that of it’s soundtrack which was utilised fantastically to portray an array of different scene-setting emotions. From joy to despair, the soundtrack of Lupin The Third could set a scene within a single note, changing the overall vibe with a shift in pitch or a tempo drop. Made up of different Jazz sub-genres, from Bebop to Post-Bop, the film had it all which threw back to the original series in a huge way and even fit perfectly in with the modern setting of the live-action film.

A lot of the film’s dialogue is actually spoken in English. Though not fluent, it actually comes across as very much authentic seeing as the characters spend little time in Japan. There was clear dubbing during certain scenes wherein which the slight mouth movements didn’t match up to certain words but I believe the only reason I noticed this was because I was being overly vigilant. The characters did a great job when speaking English, and it gave the film a somewhat authentic international feel that was very much a necessity in a globe-trotting adventure such as this.

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Ryuhei Kitamura’s live-action Lupin The Third film is an absolutely brilliant addition to the long lineage of Lupin The Third. As mentioned; it’s written in such a way that allows for the enjoyment of not only long-time fans of the series but for those out there who wish to experience what Lupin The Third is like without committing to a twenty four episode series. Of course, there were slight changes to the characters that have been developed over many years of movies and series’, but that was very much expected. There’s no way you can cram so much backstory into a simple two hour movie.

The film has so much heart, a great sense of humour, and an even better understanding of high-stakes drama without getting too aggressive. It keeps audiences on their toes, but features enough comedy to have them lower their guards and become quickly comfortable with the characters on screen. While I do suggest watching The Woman Called Fujiko Mine beforehand just to get a nice grasp on the characters in the film, it’s not necessary. Any fan of action movies will enjoy Lupin The Third be it thanks to Lupin’s antics, Daisuke Jigen’s gunplay, or Fujiko Mine’s dangerous sex appeal. People will definitely find a reason to make this movie one of their favorites, and I’m sure it will inspire them to experience Lupin The Third in any other ways they can. A great film, inspired by an even greater franchise. This is Ryuhei Kitamura’s Lupin The Third.

Want your own copy of the live-action Lupin The Third film? Don’t steal it! Buy it from Madman Entertainment’s online store: Click Here

Grade: A

-30-

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