tek's rating: ½

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (R)
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Caution: spoilers.

This 2001 movie is based on the TV series Cowboy Bebop, and is set between episodes 22 and 23. Before it was even released, I had heard that it was going to be called "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," and I guess it did have that subtitle in Japan, but when it was later released in the U.S., it was just called "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie." (When it was later released on Blu-ray by Funimation, the subtitle "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" was restored.) I think I must have first seen it on DVD sometime in the early to mid-Aughts; in fact, I think it was one of the first DVDs I ever owned. But at some point I lost it (or maybe I lent it to someone and never got it back), so I finally bought a new copy in 2015. And since I didn't write a review before, it's about time I did so.

So, it's set on Mars, in the days leading up to Halloween, 2071. While I think the reason given for setting the story specifically on that holiday is tenuous at best, I still found it pretty neat that the holiday remains recognizable in the future (and on another planet). Anyway, as usual, the crew of the Bebop- Spike, Jet, Faye, and young hacker girl Ed- are hard up for cash, chasing down minor bounties for minimal woolongs. In particular, Faye is after a hacker named Lee Sampson. In the process, she witnesses the explosion of a tanker truck, which turns out to have been transporting some unknown pathogen. In the aftermath, the Martian government posts a bounty of 300 million woolong for the capture of the man responsible, though no one actually knows who he is. And Faye had seen the man who was driving the truck, and had walked away from it just before it exploded. She'd expected Sampson to be the driver, but it was actually someone else. Someone who had apparently hired Sampson to help with his plan.

Um... I can't say I completely followed everything that happened. Faye, Spike, and Jet each separately investigate the case in their own ways, though they get help from Ed's hacking skills. She discovers that the culprit is a former soldier named Vincent Volaju, who's supposed to be dead. And the pathogen had been secretly developed by a company called Cherious Medical. While investigating that angle, Spike meets a woman named Elektra Ovirowa, who I guess is the main security agent for the company... and also the former love of Vincent. And the company wants to eliminate all traces that the pathogen ever existed... including eliminating a vaccine that exists within Vincent's blood. (This seems remarkably evil, because they'd rather let potentially millions of people die who could be saved, in order to protect themselves from being exposed as the origin of the pathogen.) In the end, Spike and Elektra- who started out as enemies- team up to stop Vincent from enacting the final phase of his plan, on Halloween. Jet and Faye also have parts to play in countering Vincent's plan to release the pathogen.

And I guess that's pretty much it. It was a cool movie, of course, but it's hard for me to say how much of that is just because I was already so familiar with the characters from the show. I didn't like the movie as much as the show, and I suspect if I wasn't such a huge fan of the show, I'd like the movie even less than I do. I mean, I definitely still would have liked it. It's got cool fights, visuals, humor, music, and really all the stuff that makes the show great. And it is always nice to see these characters. But in a way, the plot reminded me more of some typically bizarre anime movie from the 80s than of Bebop. Which isn't a bad thing, and in fact might have been the very thing that would have allowed me to like the movie even if I wasn't a fan of the show. But, you know, whatever. It was cool, in any case.

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