I’ve definitely expressed my apathy to Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger many times before. But similar to my pleasant surprise from the Zyuohger returns film, this latest Sentai crossover film, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger VS Lupinranger VS Patranger manages to almost erase what I disliked about LuPat and instead focus on what worked. And unlike many crossover team-ups, the blending together of the two (or three in this case) teams worked seamlessly and actually added to the overall enjoyment of the movie.
When a Gangler straggler pops up and teams up with Kureon, the three teams must come together to defeat the unique new enemy.
The film divides the teams into different groups to help reintroduce our heroes, especially the Lupinrangers and Patrangers who each get paired up with an appropriate Ryusoulger.
Each initial interaction plays on each character’s respective personalities and even some of their history and backstory. The amount of parallels and commonalities between the LuPats and Ryusoulgers are a pleasant surprise. And that really helps tie everything and everyone together. There is a fathomable build up that makes the moments the teams finally come together very satisfying.
The film is able to soften the sort of selfish, cocky attitudes of the Lups, while still maintaining their swagger that is obviously engrained into their roles as thieves. At the same time, the film also avoids treating the Patrangers as the butt of jokes like in the series. They’re finally shown as capable police officers who can have fun and be funny without undermining their seriousness and responsibilities as public servants.
For the Ryusoulgers, the film also finds a delicate balance between their lighter, more slapstick sides with the maturity and thoughtfulness that we saw many times during the season.
Coming together, the three teams are able to work and play off each other very well. It’s a great chemistry between teams that unfortunately isn’t always there for these sort of team-ups.
There is a more balanced time in the spotlight for each team even with the usual deference to the more veteran team. (Or in this case, teams). But never is one of the teams shortchanged in terms of screentime or story.
While the threat in the film is comparable to a typical MOTW, the main draw is the fun interactions between the teams, a careful presentation of each character’s best bits and a couple of dynamic action sequences which is actually one of LuPat’s strongest aspects.
Overall, Ryusoulger VS Lupinranger VS Patranger is (quite unexpectedly for me) one of the stronger Sentai VS films in a while.