HomeTV ShowsNetflix's Cowboy Bebop : Review / New Live-Action 'Cowboy Bebop' is Campy,...

Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop : Review / New Live-Action ‘Cowboy Bebop’ is Campy, Colorful and Fun

Cowboy Bebop is the latest cartoon classic to get a live-action makeover. Based on the beloved late 1990s Japanese anime series about futuristic bounty hunters, the new, 10-episode Netflix series, which debuted Friday, is campy, colorful and fun.

Developed by Andre Nemec (Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Alias) and penned by Christopher Yost (Thor: Ragnorak, The Mandalorian,) it features an excellent cast, including John Cho as the charming ex-gangster Spike Spiegel; Mustafa Shakir a the no-nonsense, one-armed Bebop spaceship captain Jet Black; and Daniella Pineda as the badass con artist Faye Valentine.

The series kicks off in 2071 when only the strong and clever can survive an ultra-violent society. Spike wants to start a new life bringing in villains for a price while mourning a lost love and initially keeping his past ties to the Red Dragon Syndicate crime organization a secret from Jet — a former cop who wants to make money to support his young daughter. Cho and Shakir have great chemistry and it’s a joy to watch their characters comfortably banter back and forth, three years into their partnership.

COWBOY BEBOP (L to R) MUSTAFA SHAKIR as JET BLACK and JOHN CHO as SPIKE SPIEGEL of COWBOY BEBOP Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021

Each episode finds the team working on a new case. Spike and Jet first cross paths with Faye, who was recently released from suspended animation 54 years after an accident, when Spike tries to pick up a criminal to collect a bounty and Faye attempts to bring the guy’s girlfriend home to her wealthy father. She later joins the Beebop crew, much to Spike’s annoyance.

Full disclosure: I never saw the original Cowboy Bebop and am, therefore, not comparing the two shows, but simply judging the new version on its face. I have no idea if the adaptation will be accepted or rejected by anime fans, but I think viewers with open minds will appreciate this as escapist entertainment that never takes itself too seriously.

Cho has said it was “scary as hell” re-imagining such iconic intellectual property from Sunrise Inc., but he insisted everyone involved wanted to honor the fans of the original show while offering new surprises and some in-depth back stories for the characters.

COWBOY BEPOP (L to R) JAN UDDIN as ASIMOV and LYDIA PECKHAM as KATERINA of COWBOY BEPOP Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021

As someone who loved both Firefly and The Mandalorian, I believe the live-action Cowboy Bebop shares similar DNA with those recent sci-fi westerns — outlaw protagonists trying to eke out a living as they planet-hop through a universe ruled by the powerful and corrupt.

But Cowboy Bebop also borrows from various buddy cop comedies, blood-soaked action dramas and hard-boiled detective stories, while adding its own unique visual style, martial arts fight sequences and a soundtrack that incorporates jazz noir, big band, 1970s pop and Old Western music, to distinguish it from other like-minded shows and films. 

It’s definitely worth a look.

Final Grade: B+

Here’s the trailer of the film.

Karen Butlerhttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Karen Butler is based in the New York metro area and has written about film, TV, music, books and theater for more than 25 years for media outlets such as United Press International, The Irish Echo, The Brooklyn Paper, Book magazine and The New Jersey Herald. She loves speaking with artists about their passion projects, then sharing these conversations with readers in the form of accurate, entertaining feature stories. In addition to interviewing celebrities, she also covers breaking news, film festivals, premieres and themed conventions.

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