Lupin the 3rd Episode 0: First Contact
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Lupin is after mafia boss Galvez's single most precious treasure: a treasure within a treasure. Jigen is Galvez's hired gun who fails to kill cat-burglar Lupin in his first attempt on the treasure and seeks revenge. Fujiko is the girlfriend of Lupin's rival, Brad. Zenigata travels from Japan to America to find and arrest Fujiko. Goemon seeks the almighty sword that cuts steel, Zantetsuken. This sword is mysteriously connected to the treasure in Galvez's vault.... After a series of twists and turns, these complete strangers become acquainted in their "First Contact," an epic adventure!
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This is a fine movie but there is not a lot of really memorable parts. The villain is entirely forgettable and I don’t even remember what it was everyone was after. There was an indestructible case with a scroll inside but I didn’t even catch what was supposed to be on the scroll. There is a great, albeit brief fight between Jigen and Goemon. They had also fought back in The Hemingway Papers but that was a rigged fight and here they’re going at it for real.
For me the highlight of the film was the extended chase/fight between Lupin and Goemon. Goemon has generally been set up as an invincible swordsman and no more so than in this film where he is able to deflect hundreds of bullets using Zantetsuken and cleave through several feet of steel effortlessly. Most people would be horrified to be chased down by this terrifying foe but Lupin flees with a smile on his face and demonstrates his agility and cleverness as he manages to best Goemon, explaining why Lupin is the leader of the group. This was a lot of fun but it was probably the only section of the film that really stands out. Zenigata is hilarious but no more so than normal and having him capable of beating up dozens of New York gang members seemed a bit much even for the great inspector.
I cannot give this film any more than four stars if for nothing else than the ending implies that the entire story was BS. I know that it was intended to be humorous but if the whole movie was a fraud it made everything feel like a waste. So does that mean Lupin and Goemon never actually had their epic fight? I would put this film somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of quality. There are a some three star Lupin movies and a couple of fives but for me Episode 0 is a solid four.