Lupin has a lively time of it this time in a classic car race from Madrid to Paris. The race prize is Napoleon's dictionary, which contains the key to the Treasure of the Empire, something that just about everybody seems to be after. Lupin and his buddies take off after the prize, pursued not only by the perennial Inspector, but also by an army of secret agents from around the world. Classic cars and state-of-the-art weapons heighten the speed and thrills of this adventure.
Napoleon's Dictionary is a pretty good early Lupin special.
Lupin is after Napoleon's Dictionary because, as you could imagine, it has information that can lead to a treasure. Lupin enters a old fashioned car race with the dictionary as the prize, and his gunslinger partner Jigen comes along for the ride. Fujiko is of course also after the treasure, and the classy samurai Goemon shows up to help his friends.
This is one of the less elaborate Lupin stories, feeling more like an extended episode of the TV series than a movie. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does lack the epic feel of
some of the other specials.
We have some very fun stuff from Goemon, he's especially eccentric in this one. Zenigata and Lupin have some laugh out loud scenes handcuffed together, and Jigen like usual is the straight man to balk at Lupin's antics. Fujiko does have less screen time in this than I'd like though, her fun sex appeal is always a nice touch.
The plot in this one does give some brief attention to Lupin's grandfather Arsene Lupin, and father Lupin II. This is a nice touch for fans of the series.
All in all, this is your typical Lupin caper. A solid entry, but not one that stands out. It's a fun watch, with a laid back feel, jazzy music, and some hilarious comedy. Lupin fans, you may as well give this one a watch.
Lupin and the gang are back in the 90’s for some more treasure stealing fun. This time, Lupin and Jigen join an old funny car race from Madrid to Paris with the prize being Napoleon’s Dictionary. The dictionary, of course, holds a secret to finding a great treasure.
This having one of the lesser strange plots and no crazy plot “twists” like Mamo (first movie) and Gold Babylon (movie 1985). It more or less sticks to what makes Lupin great; a crazy fun action ride with quick wit much like the TV show. It was even directed by the well-known Osamu Dezaki (Aim for the Ace,
Black Jack, Ashita no Joe).
Getting into the characters, this 90 minute special primarily focuses on Lupin, Jigen, and Inspector Zenigata, with limited appearances from the typical rest of the gang; mainly sexy Fujiko Mine who doesn’t truly factor in until near the end.
Sound and animation are only slightly better than Gold Babylon, which is a total disappointment going from 1985 to 1991. Music is fairly bland instead of the usual hot jazz that the Lupin franchise is known for.
Although the atmosphere this special puts on is very enjoyable. All character interactions are filled with wit and humour. Even the over-the-top crazy homage to every major world power going through tough economic times (post communism) all come to the conclusion of chasing Lupin for the same treasure he is after. That final fifteen minutes is ridiculous and would make anybody laugh, or at least get a good chuckle out of.
Lupin III Steal Napoleon's Dictionary is one of the better specials and or films of the franchise to date, just on the fact that most others are way too weird. Although it does not break any new grounds on the franchise like Castle of Cagliostro did, this special holds true to the classic Lupin formula in slightly above average fashion.