If you're ever in the Chicago area and you need a driver to do a job of a, well, questionable nature and you have the cash, Bean Bandit is the man for you. As a "courier" for hire, Bean's tremendous talent for getting things done has made him famous among criminals and scoundrels and infamous among law enforcement of all kinds. With his souped up Road Buster and his lovely crackshot partner Rally Vincent, there isn't any job too large or too dangerous for Bean.
When Bean helps a small gang to escape from the scene of a mall heist, he and Rally begin to find themselves being used as pawns in a major kidnapping scheme with a wealthy businessman and his ten-year-old daughter in the balance. It'll take everything Bean and Rally have to save the girl, exact some revenge on their tormentors, evade the psycho local police force, and snag the two million dollar ransom in the end to boot. Fast driving, wild chases, and mega-violence is in store for all involved!
I had high expectations of this one from the hype I've heard from others regarding this anime. While they weren't dashed completely by the actual viewing, they weren't exactly upheld, either.
We'll start with the basics. The art and animation are pretty well done, effectively conveying the madness and insanity that the Japanese must think is rampant in Chicago. Some of the driver's-eye-view shots in the chase scenes are quite remarkable, giving you a glimpse at just how impossible it would be to replicate Bean's stunts in real life. The soundtrack gets the job done with a nice driving rock beat that keeps the action moving.
Characters are fairly interesting as well. Anyone familiar with Gunsmith Cats will no doubt recognize Kenichi Sonoda's characters as they were before he was forced to drop Bean and create Gunsmith Cats instead due to contract reasons. Dubbing isn't too bad by AnimEigo standards, with Bean sounding much the Bandit he is. Borderline-sick humor is interspersed throughout the flick to keep the viewer from taking this thing too seriously.
The plot (which was basically an excuse for the action to take place) was surprisingly good and kept us fairly glued to our seats, up to a certain point. In the final showdown, though, the flick went _way_ over the top in terms of incredibility and propriety, leaving T.H.E.M. scratching its collective heads in puzzlement as credits rolled. What could have been a terrific topper to a non-stop action thriller became a flat, uninspired free-for-all that heavily implied that the writers ran out of escape ideas for our favorite Chicago scoundrel.
Overal, though, it wasn't too bad. As an action flick, Bean delivers as promised, and you'll get some good sequences out of it. But you've got to wonder if it could have been done better.
Recommended Audience: Another example of a flick that kids would love but probably shouldn't watch. Several Bubblegum Crisis-level deaths pump the gruesome factor up a few notches beyond general audience appropriateness. Sexual innuendo and other mature themes are to be found, as well as implied pedophilia (yick). Brief, semi-casual nudity is present in the beginning scenes in the mall and at Rally's apartment.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Riding Bean © 1989 Youmex
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