'Lupin the IIIrd: Goemon's Blood Spray' - Movie Review

Lupin the 3rd is a "gentleman thief:" the character first appeared in a Japanese manga in 1967, purportedly the grandson of Maurice Leblanc's French literary character "Lupin" - another gentleman thief, active around 1900. He's appeared in Anime ever since, where he's routinely accompanied by Jigen (marksman and friend) and Goemon (humourless and totally honourable samurai of immeasurable skill), in competition for loot with the sexy Fujiko, and pursued by the hapless (but morally sound) inspector Zenigata. 50 years after the first appearance of Lupin the 3rd, we have this one hour long Anime production (it was of course voiced in Japanese, but I watched the English dub).

This time, Goemon is working for a mob boss protecting a gambling boat - which both Fujiko and Lupin rob at the same time. A guy named "Hawk" (who is supposed to be dead) shows up on the gambling boat to kill Lupin, and Goemon tangles with him. As the mob boss's enforcer, Goemon would be honour-bound to protect his master's money as well as his life, wouldn't he? They completely ignore that aspect (because otherwise Goemon would have to kill Lupin) - it's all about Hawk. But Goemon, this brilliant samurai, is defeated (but not killed) by Hawk! And thus hangs our unexciting tale.

The appeal of the Lupin movies (nearly 50 years worth) generally lies in the comedy, and knowing that Lupin will do "the right thing" rather than keep the money if it comes to that (although he'd prefer to do both). Goemon - like Jigen - is a side character, a foil. But not in this movie: Goemon is the lead, Lupin is the commentator. And because Goemon is such a spectacularly good fighter, they have to create someone superhuman who can truly challenge him - and I do mean "superhuman," so much so that I had trouble with suspension of disbelief - which is pretty odd in an already absurd Lupin movie. It's very bloody (an unusual and undesirable trait in a Lupin movie), the heist is dull, and the comedy is weak.