Lupin III: Walther P38

(In Memory of the Walther P38)

Rating: 2½ Rampages Cover for the LD

Synopsis:
After an attack at a party, and another botched robbery, Lupin tries to sneak out only to be caught once again by Zenigata. When Lupin is about to be apprehended, however, he sees Zenigata get shot, and from the sound of the gunshot he recognizes the sound of his old Walther P38. Compelled to find the man who betrayed him years ago, and shot him with his own original P38, Lupin follows the trail of Zenigata's would-be assassin to an island full of brutal hired killers. Left with little choice, he joins up with them until he can find a way to deal with the lingering ghost of his past.

Review:
Y'know, it's getting harder and harder to actually write something about a Lupin movie as they're just getting so bloody predictable. Let's examine this one then shall we? Lupin is trying to steal something. Zenigata shows up. Lupin runs away. Something bad happens and someone new shows up. Lupin goes to find out what is up. Zenigata mysteriously starts to vanish from the picture. Lupin chases some ass. Some zany action ensues. A really bad guy shows up to slap Lupin around a bit. Lupin chases some ass. Fujiko and Goemon show up. "The plan ™ " goes into action. Lupin chases some ass. Plot twists ensue. More zany action. The Bad guy shows up again to beat on Lupin. Big dramatic fight. Lupin Wins. The credits roll.

It's actually kind of sad because, as you all well know, I am a big fan of Lupin and his crew, so seeing the whole franchise go down the toilet like this is very depressing. The whole "one TV feature a year" gimmick seems to be hurting the quality something fierce, as the writing has been going downhill for a few years now. Storywise, there were some big mistakes made here. The choice to keep the REAL badguy hidden till the last 20 minutes or so is a smart move, but the complete removal of anything silly and wacky from this film is SO not. I'm not kidding, there is practically NOTHING of the usual Lupin wacky fights and stumbling around like a fool with the devil's own luck, just really messy and excessive fights all over the place. I'm sorry, but if there isn't any zaniness bounding recklessly through the picture, it just isn't a Lupin movie. Everyone seems to go through the whole film in "action hero" mode...and who wants to see Lupin being serious all the time? It's a lot easier to excuse the whole convoluted plots, recycled formula, and utterly impossible fights when nothing is being taken the least bit seriously, but this just really made some parts a chore.

Good animation but questionable writing make Walther P38 a decent enough movie by itself, but rather lacking as a Lupin film. Not much use for either new or old fans as new ones would get the wrong idea of what Lupin is like, and the old ones will probably be left scratching their heads. But hey, if you complain that there isn't enough solid action in the Lupin shows, by all means check this out. Otherwise I'd recommend Fuma Conspiracy or Cagliostro for a much better time.

Availability: Only available fansubbed at the moment.