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"Cowboy Bebop: The Movie"

Directed by Shinichirô Watanabe.
Written by Marc Handler, Keiko Nobumoto and Hajime Yatate.
Starring the voices of Steven Blum, Beau Billingslea and Wendee Lee.
Release Year:  2001
Review Date:  4/25/03 


Although I have never heard of it, there is apparently a huge following for the “Cowboy Bebop” anime series and now, finally, there is a movie about it!  (I learned later that this film really opened two years ago.  Oh well.)

For the other 99.5% of us, this is your standard issue Japanese action cartoon.  Only a couple of problems with this idea, though:

  1. “Cowboy Bebop” and its world are decidedly Japerican, so you’ve got a lot of regular old white and black folks in a world where the signs are all printed in Japanese and English.  In fact, I don’t think there was a single Japanese-looking character in the film.

  2. “Cowboy Bebop” is about three bounty hunters--Spike, Faye, and Jet--and their fight to bring down a mysterious guy in a leather jacket named Vincent before he infects the entire population of Mars (in the future, it’s populated) with this virus that instantly kills people once airborne.  Great idea, but one major problem--there is almost no action in the film.

This leaves you with a problem if you go into this film (as I was doing) thinking it was going to be the next “Akira.”  I like anime, I like action, and the two were not matched together in this film.  Add to this the fact that the film is 110 minutes long (about a half-hour too long for a cartoon) and is mostly characters standing in the shadows, talking about nothing, and you had a guy named Justin sitting in the theater asleep for a solid ten minutes of film time.  “Cowboy Bebop” has a cool opening sequence, and two pretty cool fight scenes between Spike and Vincent.  Otherwise, I was sitting around thinking to myself,

“Why don’t I go ahead and start making films?  I see two films a week, and one of them is always average-to-dogshit.  What the hell am I doing sitting at my desk from 8-5, thumb up my ass while I do work for The Man?  Isn’t life supposed to be grander than this?  Damn, I could go for some Skittles right now.  Man, what are those two guys sitting across the aisle from me doing, anyway?  Man, they’ve been making noise since I got the hell in here.  Can’t wait to go to Burger King for lunch tomorrow...those chicken tenders with their wild shapes are pretty sweet.  The chicken is just so tasty...”

And, so on.  With this amount of daydreaming, you KNOW that shit wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09