As the eagerly awaited Cowboy Bebop feature film reunites the original director, screenwriter, composer, and vocal cast, it''s not surprising that the film plays like an expanded TV episode. What should be the routine capture of a two-bit hacker by Faye escalates into a deadly game of cat and mouse, as Spike and the gang struggle to prevent the evil Vincent Volaju from murdering every human on Mars. Director Shinichiro Watanabe handles the action sequences with his usual panache. Inside the sinister Cherious Medical research facility, Spike fights a beautiful agent, using a push broom in a series of maneuvers Jackie Chan might envy. The climactic duel between Spike and Vincent plays against innocent yet eerie images of a Halloween carnival, recalling the amusement park setting of episode 20, "Pierrot Le Fou." Knockin'' on Heaven''s Door will delight fans of the series and provide an excellent introduction for the uninitiated who want to know why Cowboy Bebop is so popular on both sides of the Pacific. (Rated R: violence, brief nudity, minor profanity, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
Mars. Days before Halloween 2071. Villains blow up a tanker truck on Highway One, releasing a deadly virus that kills hundreds. Fearing a bigger, even more devastating biochemical attack, an astronomical reward is offered for the arrest and capture of the person behind the destruction. On the spaceship "Bebop," Spike Spiegel and his crew of bounty hunters (Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Ed and Ein) are bored and short of cash. But with the news of the reward everything changes. Based on the wildly popular TV series, Cowboy Bebop, the big-screen smash Cowboy Bebop: The Movie pits Spike and Co. against their deadliest adversary ever. Featuring stunning, state-of-the-art animation, this action-packed sci-fi adventure builds to a breath-taking, nail-biting climax, guaranteed to keep you hanging on the edge of your seat.
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