Taking his cue from the beloved French books about gentleman thief Arsene Lupin, Assane Diop (Omar Sy) enacts a plan of revenge against Hubert Pellegrini (Herve Pierre), the man who brought down his father!
When we last left our intrepid heroes in ‘Lupin Part 1’, Assane’s son Raoul (Etan Simon) had been kidnapped by Pellegrini henchman Leonard (Adama Niane), and Youseff Guerida (Soufiane Guerrab), or Ganimard as Assane dubbed him after the beloved Inspector antagonist from the Lupin novels, is willing to set aside his cop sensibilities to help Diop get his boy back. Because whether or not you agree with the morality of Diops’ Lupin-like activities, the results cannot be denied.
Part 1 of Lupin introduced all the characters of course – Diop, the mother of his son Claire (Ludivine Sagnier), Raoul himself, Diop’s lifelong friend and helper Benjamin (Antoine Guy), bad guy Pellegrini and his bought police commissioner Dumont (Vincent Garanger), Pellegrini’s daughter and Diop’s former flame Juliette (Clotilde Hesme), even the dog J’accuse. And while Part 1 certainly set the stage from the get-go with a daring jewel heist from the Louvre itself, Part 2 gets even more like a stage magician pulling off his best illusion ever with narrow daring escapes, plenty of “gotcha!” moments, and a satisfying cold-revenge-served-hot-Count-of-Monte-Cristo-style final act.
What makes Part 2 so terrific, beyond the wonderful soundtrack from Mathieu Lamboley, the gorgeous shots of the French countryside, the river Seine and the Champs-Elysees, and all the over-the-top trickery you can shake a fake moustache at, is the wider role given to Diop’s helpers. Ganimard proves himself to be a moral cop in a station full of corruption and useful in taking Pellegrini down, Juliette gets to be the unwitting fall-lady that brings ruin to her fathers supposedly untouchable empire, Benjamin serves faithfully as Diop’s sidekick while beset by the puppy J’accuse, even Raoul and Claire insist on fully embracing their own roles to play in the final showdown. Arsene Lupin of the novels had his own Ganimard of course, all the Cogliostro secrets, and even the blonde lady; Lupin III of the treasured anime series has the chain-smoking Jigen, Goemon and his sword, and of course love-interest and rival master thief Fujiko Mine; this new Lupin take had best have at least a small cast of characters to both help and hinder Diop as a modern-day Lupin.
With all the magicians misdirection and swagger you could want in a gentleman thief, ‘Lupin Part 2’ gives you that delicious feeling of satisfaction of a daring heist magnificently pulled off, but always leaves us wanting just a little bit more. Which is good, because Netflix just green-lit ‘Lupin’ for a Part 3!