Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

"Very Good"

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Review


Having never watched the Cowboy Bebop anime series, I have to say I was a little disappointed to see little in the way of either cowboys or dancing in the feature of the same name (which came out in Japan in 2001, but hit U.S. theaters briefly in the spring of 2003), but that's ultimately probably for the best. In the world of Cowboy Bebop, it's the year 2071, a time when the Earth has become almost uninhabitable and everyone has moved out to other planets in the solar system, like Mars. The plucky little band of bounty hunters who star in the film -- the closest thing to cowboys here -- are getting restless with picking up minor thugs for chump change. Fortunately for them, a terrorist explodes a tanker truck full of some germ agent on a crowded downtown highway - apparently they haven't fixed the traffic problem on Mars yet - killing dozens of people and getting a massive bounty put out on him.

Vincent, the "terrorist," baffles everyone, as he doesn't seem to have much of a motive, and might just be having anger management issues. Most of the Cowboy band - coolly magnetic Spike Spiegel, gruff Jet Black, and the very capable Faye Valentine - spreads out across the city to find out what the guy's problem is and what exactly what was the agent that he was using. It's a good excuse to show off the film's impeccable design, which incorporates familiar elements from Earth cities and reproduces them on Mars, presumably as the inhabitants' way of remembering their ruined home planet (several New York icons are used as background, including the Flatiron building and even, this being a 2001 film, the World Trade Center). Thus we get several scenes set in a North African-style bazaar, and even a climactic showdown on an Eiffel Tower, during a Halloween parade, no less.

Some have complained that Cowboy Bebop is not much of a movie and is merely a standard-issue episode of the series stretched out to a little under two hours in length. Again, having never seen the show, this could very well be correct, and it is definitely true that there's probably only about an hour's worth of story here. And although some passages in the film drag, especially before the truth of Vincent's psychopathic mission is uncovered, the lustrous animation is more than enough compensation.

Also, it seems churlish to make such a critique of a movie that not only has such wonderful characters but isn't particularly hurried to push them into drama for the sake of drama. At a time when Hollywood live-action product is so neurotic about keeping its audience glued to the screen at every possible second (jokes! explosions! no down time!), it's ironic that an anime feature, a genre which had originally penetrated the US market based primarily on its high-impact, anti-Disney, sex 'n' violence approach, should be so confident and relaxed. Even the voice actors here take it low-key, often talking in quiet, hushed tones instead of the !exclamation marks! favored by most animated product (Pixar excepted).

Spike Spiegel is a case in point. Not your average anime hero - he doesn't have steroid-sized muscles, a gun the size of a person, and isn't a vampire - he's pretty good with his kung fu and knows how to use a pistol, but seems more interested in kicking back and having a smoke. Like the movie, he has a wiry build, an insouciant smirk and just about no pride.

The DVD comes with making-of featurettes and is fortunately presented in widescreen with subtitles.

Aka Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira.

Danger, danger!



Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st September 2001

Box Office USA: $0.9M

Distributed by: Independent Distribution Partn

Production compaines: Bandai Visual Company, Bones, Destination Films, Sunrise

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 45 Rotten: 25

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Shinichirô Watanabe, Hiroyuki Okiura

Starring: Kôichi Yamadera as Spike Spiegel, Unshō Ishizuka as Jet Black, as Edward, as Electra, as Faye Valentine, Mickey Curtis as Rasheed, as Vincent, Jin Hirao as Antonio, as Renji, Miki Nagasawa as Judy, Hiroshi Naka as Jobin, Akihiko Nakajima as Carlos

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.