IMDb > Bounty Dog (1994) (V)

Bounty Dog (1994) (V) More at IMDbPro »

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Director:
Writers:
Mayori Sekijima
John Wolskel (english version)
Release Date:
28 January 2003 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The dark side of the moon holds many secrets.
User Reviews:
Pretty to look at, but needlessly difficult to make sense of. See more (1 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Steve Graf ... Yoshiyoko (voice) (as Stephen Graf)
Toni Barry ... Shoko (voice)
Teresa Gallagher ... Ines / Yayoi (voice)
Nigel Greaves ... Kei (voice)
Peter Marinker ... Corporate Spokesman (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Megumi Hayashibara ... Shoko Uzuki (voice: Japanese version)
Hikaru Midorikawa ... Kei Mimura (voice: Japanese version)
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Directed by
Hiroshi Negishi 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Mayori Sekijima 
John Wolskel  english version

Animation Department
Hirotoshi Sano .... assistant animation director
Hirotoshi Sano .... character designer
 

Distributors
  • Manga (????) (France) (DVD)
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Additional Details

Runtime:
60 min
Country:
Language:

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Pretty to look at, but needlessly difficult to make sense of., 7 November 2001
Author: vkn from Amsterdam

Bounty Dog is set in the distant future, where man has colonised the moon, and tourist flights to the lunar cities are possible. Some fishy business if going on, however, and suspicion has arisen that the Constans Lunar Corporation (who seem to own pretty much all of the moon) may be developing an illegal weapon. The Bounty Dog team, a trio of hi-tech undercover agents of some kind are sent to the moon to check it out. They find more than they bargained for, as Constans has in fact unearthed a kind of alien life-form called the Sleeper, who is emitting strange bursts of energy, and will probably cause mass chaos unless a way of keeping her quiet is found. What's more, identical clones of the Sleeper roam the streets of the moon city (they all wear identical outfits as well, somehow). Yoshiyuki, one of the Bounty Dog members runs into one of these Sleeper clones, and is surprised to see how much she looks like his friend Yayoi, who died on earth and told him with her last breath that they might meet again on the moon. The Sleeper clone, who's called Inez explains that Yoshiyuki is the only one who can kill the Sleeper, or Darkness as she puts it (apparently, it's his destiny, something to do with the robotic arm he was given after Yayoi's death), before it fully awakens and sets out to destroy the earth as every decent villain would do. So Yoshiyuki and his teammates set out to Darkness' hideout inside the moon, piloting mecha, beating up millitary guards and evil Sleeper clones and shooting a few more things in the process.

That's all very well, but Bounty Dog's main flaw is that it is far too confusing for it's own good. It's really a pretty straightforward good-vs-evil story, but the plot is explained in a much too twisty-turny fashion, throwing around flashbacks, dream scenes and bits that just aren't explained at all. Some examples; the Bounty Dog gang begin to go about their business on the moon, doing some moderate spy stuff, but it's not until roughly a quarter through the tape that it's even mentioned that the Bounty Dog team is an "investigation unit" (or that they're a team at all). Similiarly, Yoshiyuki mentions Yayoi's name a few times without the merest clue for the audience who he's talking about, until we get an explanation of who she was much later on. I'm all for mystery, suspense and that sort of thing (which is justified for a few plot elements, such as keeping the Sleeper's identity under wraps), but Bounty Dog goes way overboard, and it's jumbled, rapidly cut style of storytelling, while pretty trendy, only adds to the head-scratching. Frankly, if it weren't for a magazine article I had read on this, I wouldn't have been able to make heads or tails out of the whole shebang. True, there are lots of films that require multiple viewings to fully understand, but Bounty Dog is confusing for the wrong reasons and holds fairly little material for deep interpretations beneath it's surface (save for a few somewhat philosophical musings about the moon, and a hint that repeatedly killing Yayoi-lookalikes might be a bit hard on poor Yoshiyuki's nerves).

More frustration comes from elements that are not explained at all. For instance, they go on and on about how Yoshiyuki's cybernetic arm (how did he get it? A phrase here and there tries to explain it and fails) is the only tool that can kill Darkness. All he does with it in the end is punch through the floor to reach for an oversized strand of DNA, which he then pulls apart. Granted, it's floating in some very corrosive material that'd melt a flesh-and-blood arm, but surely there are a hundred other possible ways to reach into a puddle of slime and pull apart some strings. Really big salad tongs, perhaps. Why Yoshiyuki's arm is so special is -still- not clear after the end of the film, which is irritating considering how much of a key element of the plot they make it out to be. What Bounty Dog really needed was to either have an extra 20 or 30 minutes in which to explain all the vague bits and build up some more tension, or a more rigid approach to it's story.

The OAV's strength is really only in it's looks. The character designs are very fine and detailed, and colors are used in a striking, unusual fashion. Most of the film is painted entirely in dim yellow tones (some blue and even pink pops up timidly near the end). Coupled with the directing style, some surreal bits, and generally pretty dark imagery, it does lend the OAV a unique atmosphere. You might eventually grow to like it as a floaty, mildly eerie mental trip after viewing it a few times (by which time you will have completely given up trying to untangle the messy plot). Animation itself isn't really breathtaking, favoring a lot of still-shots over proper motion, but this adds somewhat to the pleasingly otherworldly feel of the film. Plus, the mecha are definitely cool and make for some pretty nice action scenes, with the somewhat violent encounters with the evil Ines-lookalikes also adding a fair bit of tension (even if they tend to stab largely the wrong targets with their knives). While all this can't save the film from it's big plot flaws, the atmosphere is worth sampling at least, providing that the idea of a film done almost completely in ochre and mustard hues doesn't put you off. This may be worth renting if you can get it cheap and reckon you'll like it. Also note that the English-language dub is decent enough to get away with it, if not outstanding (with only Kei's dub actor making clumsy attempts at covering up his American accent for no apparent reason). But it's still a too hampered film to fully recommend. Which is a shame, because it does have a certain -something- that deserved a better treatment.

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