Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door

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As a subgenre, “Movies Based on TV Shows” isn’t the most reliably successful. For every Miami Vice (shut up, it’s fuckin’ good) there are like five of Car 54, Where Are You? But one of the best examples of a show making the leap is also one of its least mentioned—probably because the show was an anime that most Americans only saw if they (1) knew what the fuck Adult Swim was in 2001, and (2) were up late enough on Sunday nights to watch it. If they did, they saw Cowboy Bebop, arguably the finest anime series ever made, a laid-back explosion of style that demanded you acknowledge just how fucking cool it was. In less sure hands, this story of interstellar bounty hunters who reluctantly become something like a real family would be a tryhard melange of clichés. But through the eyes of director Shinichiro Watanabe, every ingredient (sci-fi, jazz, noir, screwball comedy, action, mystery, suspense, sitcom hijinks) is perfectly measured and blended with such surety that the result feels breezily effortless—at least, until the cumulative effect of the storytelling sneaks a breath-stealing gut punch into the final minutes. So went the series, so goes this movie. by Bobby Roberts
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Credits
Director
Shinichirô Watanabe, Yoshiyuki Takei
Cast
Megumi Hayashibara, Koichi Yamadera, Unshō Ishizuka

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