Last week, a friend posted pictures of the cast in character for an upcoming Lupin III live-action adaptation:
Lupin III follows the misadventures of the half-Japanese grandchild of the French self-styled gentleman thief Arsene Lupin (a fictional creation by Maurice LeBlanc) and his motley gang – which includes crack shot Jigen and ex-samurai swordsman Ishikawa, not to mention on-again, off-again femme fatale Fujiko – as they pull off heists and get one step ahead of the indefatigable Inspector Zenigata.
This hasn’t been the first time that Kazuhiro Kato aka Monkey Punch’s creation has been brought to the silver screen, though…
Japanese trailer for Lupin III: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy (1974)
However, one cannot discount the enduring appeal of that rascally lady-killer Lupin and his dysfunctional gang of anti-heroes, so it falls in the hands of Ryuhei Kitamura (Godzilla: Final Wars) to deliver justice when the film opens in Japan on August 30.
The story reboots the origin of the Lupin gang as they first meet up on the trail of the Crimson Heart of Cleopatra, housed in the otherwise impregnable Ark of Navarone. Aside from Zenigata, Lupin also has to deal with a rival thief, Michael Lee (“Meteor Garden” alum Jerry Yan) The film, whose principal photography wrapped in December 26, 2013, was shot on locations around Japan and China as well as Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and even the Philippines (!!!)
I was always fearing the worst if ever a Hollywood adaptation of Lupin III pushed through, what with white-washing and watering-down the manga’s ribald humour (though I have always had Eva Mendes on lock as Fujiko… possibly reimagined as Brazilian-Japanese). Then again, there was the 1991 Bruce Willis film flop Hudson Hawk, which was the closest attempt by Hollywood to approximate the cocky thrills of the Lupin gang.
Let us not speak of this abomination again…