Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Cowboy Bebop takes the opposite tack from the over-plotted Escaflowne movie, but it's almost too opposite -- a story that might work well as two 25-minute episodes gets padded out into two hours. Director Shinichiro Watanabe is right to be proud of the film's excellent animation, but wrong to linger on it for longer than serves the plot (fans of the faster-paced TV show may want to buy the large Coke). That said, when the action sequences work, they work well; the climax cribs heavily from 1989's Batman, but improves on Tim Burton's finale. Set in a future full of space travel and mercenaries, the film focuses on the crew of the starship Bebop: bounty hunters Spike and Faye, cyborg Jet, and babbling hacker Ed, all of whom must foil a deadly nanoprobe outbreak and save the world. The film is being released dubbed and subtitled, and many fans love the show's regular dub cast, but a word to the wise: There's a fake Cockney accent in the English version that induces pain.


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