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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2001!
COWBOY BEBOP THE MOVIE, 2001
Cast: Steve Blum, Beau Billingslea, Wendee Lee, Melissa Fahn
Set on Mars in the year 2071, COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE is based on the much-loved animated television series. Spike (Steven Jay Blum) and his gang of gypsy vigilantes are roaming the city, looking for trouble when Faye (Wendee Lee) witnesses a bioterrorist attack. Hovering above the city in her spaceship, she sees a man fleeing the scene. Over 500 people die in the attack, and the city offers a monetary reward for any information. The gang jumps at the opportunity. They decide to branch out, each using their own tactics to research the tragedy.
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Cowboy Bepop was originally a Manga television series in Japan that found a cult following round the world, due mainly to the beatnik characters and original, cool music that would often influence the course of the narrative as opposed to just sound tracking it. Clearly influenced by a ‘beat generation’ attitude while also drawing from the world of science fiction, it married the two to create an exciting tapestry that had both style and substance.
The series follows an unlikely band of bounty hunters, referred to as cowboys in the future. A future that has seen the universe colonised and as these cowboys roam space they find no shortage of violent, dangerous criminals to track down. The group led by original partnership, the cool, enigmatic Spike and big, thoughtful, Jet. They now carry in tow Faye, a feisty woman who originally was a bounty they were in pursuit of and Ed, a young girl with technical expertise, which they found out when hunting down a mysterious computer hacker that turned out to be the young girl who also takes responsibility for their dog, Ein.
This feature length edition comes within the timeline of the series, but stands alone containing no bearing on any overarching narrative that the series plays out. It begins with Faye witnessing the explosion of a tanker on Mars which kills hundreds of people. City officials offer up a massive reward to anyone who catches the culprit. And so, our beloved cowboys set to work in their various different ways. As is the norm with them their approaches are typical of their behaviour. Jet is philosophical but blends it with all his technical capabilities, which sees him collaborate with Ed who naturally hacks into various computer systems and digs up all the info she can via computer. Faye is full hardy in her approach, and this lack of measure in approach leads her into the most peril. While Spike uses a mixture of charm and confrontation.
In all their investigation they uncover more than just a terrorist attack there are army cover ups, scientific experimentation, plenty of secrets and lies to decipher as the plot twists and turns. This being feature length the story unravelling is a lot more intricate than the TV episodes would be. And aside from the bounty the crew are chasing being a simple criminal, violent, corrupt or impulsive. This has a lot more depth to it, a lot more emotion to deal with.
What it has lost in having the extra running time is the punchy energy which concisely and consistently drives and maintains your attention in a single episode. This has to be viewed rather differently. And more than anything the music, while still having the same vibe doesn’t have the same impact on the story as it does in an individual episode of the series.
These are minor gripes from a huge fan of the series. There’s still plenty of action and, like I said before a really good story to watch though and the characters are still cooler than most you find in Manga adaptations.
Review by Stefan Leverton 22/02/10