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Rupan Sansei: Nenriki chin Sakusen

Lupin III: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy

Japan 1974
produced by
Yutaka Fujioka, Kameo Oki for Toho
directed by Takashi Tsuboshima
starring Yuki Meguro, Eiko Ezaki, Kunie Tanaka, Shiro Ito, Maria Anzai, Kiyoshi Maekawa, Fuimi, Popizu, Akira Hitomi, Takashi Ebata, Rinichi Yamamoto, Arihiro Fujimura, E.H. Eric, Hideyo Amamoto, Rena Natsuki, Fujio Tokita, Akira Oizumi, Sachio Sakai, Toki Shiozawa, Katsumi Ishiyama, Junichi Tanaka, Minoru Uezu, Shozo Fukuyama, Sanji Kojima, Karsuo Unno
screenplay by Hiroshi Nagano, based on the manga by Monkey Punch, music by Masaru Sato

Lupin III

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Someone is trying to get his hold on masterthief Lupin III (Yuki Meguro), and that's Daisuke Jigen (Kunie Tanaka), once a high-ranking member of the Lupin-organisation, a world-wide crimeweb, who wants Lupin III to rebuild the organisation from scratch after it was wiped out by the Maccherone clan - which of course means the Maccherone clan wants a bit of Lupin III as well, preferably dead. Lupin doesn't care about all of this too much, he just wants to become romantically involved with Fujiko (Eiko Ezaki), a seductive female thief who doesn't care too much about Lupin ... unless he can get her what she wants. Fujiko is in jail though, so to date her, Lupin has to break her free - only to be outsmarted by her and handed over to the cops led by inspector Zenigata (Shiro Ito). Zenigata is hell-bent to lock Lupin up and let him rot in jail, but he is also pretty incompetent and surrounded by idiots, so it's no problem at all for Lupin to escape him time and again, most notably after a jewellery heist set up by Fujiko at the end of which she outsmarts him again.

Eventually though, Lupin goes to prison voluntarily ... because the Maccherone clan has sent dozens of assassins after him, and he gets tired of fighting them off. When he learns that Fujiko has become a captive of the clan though, he breaks out of prison in no time at all, and in the finale, he not only manages to free Fujiko not only from her captors but also a house threatening to fall off some cliffs, and on top of that steals the national treasure (an allegedly psychokinetic artefact) back from the Maccherone clan to (rather by accident) return it to its rightful owners. Suddenly, Lupin has become a national hero, and now it's up to inspector Zenigata to not only not arrest him but hand him an official thank-you-note ...

 

The first and so far (late 2010) only live-action movie based on the manga Lupin III - and for the most part, it's a successful adaptation, as it does its best to translate the nonsense humour of the source material onto the screen, it's cartoon-like slapstick is well-executed, all the actors approach their roles with just the right amount of seriousness to not turn the film into something purely idiotic, and the film as a whole is fast-paced enough to keep one entertained throughout. On top of that, there is hardly a film outside of the sex genre in which the protagonists lose their pants quite so often.

Unfortunately though, Lupin III: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy is a bit of a letdown plotwise, mainly because it tries to cram way too much story into a mere 90 minutes, from Lupin's first encounters with Daisuke Jigen, Fujiko and inspector Zenigata via his war with the Maccherone clan to not one but two sophisticated heist sequences. It all makes the film a bit hard to follow, storywise.

But still, if you just want to have some slightly mindless fun and don't care too much about the plot, this is just the movie to watch.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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