City Hunter: The Motion Picture (1997)
Inspired by the highly popular Jackie Chan vehicle City Hunter (1992) and its 1996 sequel, this action-packed anime borrows liberally from its predecessors (not to mention several American blockbusters, most notably Speed), so it's not going to score any points for originality. What it does offer is energy to spare and a trio of characters who are sure to please adolescent anime fans looking for an outlet for their hormonal overload. That's because ace crimefighter Joe Saeba--a.k.a. "City Hunter"--is at least as interested in "nookie" as he is in busting bad guys, and when he's not trying to score with one of his legion of female admirers, he's getting his skull battered by Kaori, his jealously protective sidekick and would-be girlfriend, who wields a gigantic sledgehammer the way Ken Griffey Jr. swings a Louisville Slugger. City Hunter's latest object of desire is Amy Makaze, a damsel-in-distress whose brother--now known only as "The Professor"--has turned from military heroism to ruthless terrorism and now plans to destroy several major Japanese cities in revenge against the government that betrayed him. It's up to City Hunter to foil the madman's scheme, and the big showdown involves a bullet train, a series of bombs set to chain-react, and a few well-placed slams of Kaori's massive sledge. It's shamelessly derivative as action plots go, but City Hunter is vibrantly animated with style to spare, and best of all, it doesn't take itself the least bit seriously. Juvenile entertainment with just a hint of "mature content," this is formulaic anime at its most professionally polished.