The Professional Golgo 13

Distributed by Urban Vision
Based on Manga by Takao Saito and Saito Production
Directed by Osamu Dezaki
Mature Audiences Only (Contains extreme violence, sexual situations and nudity)
Running Time: 90 minutes

Reviewed by Jon Minners

Remember when you didnít even know what anime was?  I used to watch Robotron, Battle of the Planets and Voltron and think they were cartoons, just like GI-Joe, Transformers and He-Man.  I only truly discovered anime when my friend got into the craze and rented Vampire Hunter D, Ghost in the Shell, Street Fighter, Fist of the Northstar and The Professional Golgo 13.  There seems to be a resurgence going on for every one of those titles with sequels coming out for each title, but one legend stands on his own and has made his return to American shores for the first time on DVD. 

Coming out this Tuesday, November 1, the legendary animated movie, based on Takao Saitoís wildly popular manga series spanning over a hundred volumes, makes its mark in the DVD market for the first time in its near three decade existence.  The anime assassin, often referred to as the Japanese James Bond, has become a worldwide phenomenon spanning several video games, two really bad live action movies and one highly successful animated sequel that I will touch upon later on in this review.  However, it all started right here with one of the most action packed and well written stories to ever grace the screen. 

Golgo 13's real name is Duke Togo. He is the ultimate hit man as it appears that he has no heart whatsoever. Cold-blooded and lethal, although that is not necessarily true, Golgo 13 is known throughout the world for his clean kills and the number of them he has racked up throughout the years. Golgo 13 does not make mistakes and no job goes uncompleted.  If you are on his hit list, you are already dead.  With so many kills under his belt, it makes sense that Togo would have a slew of enemies after his hide.  Many would love a piece of him, but others are too scared to go near him. One man, the father of one of Golgo 13's kills, will stop at nothing until he rids the world of this hit man.

On his 62nd birthday, oil baron Leonard Dawson witnesses the public assassination of his son and heir Robert.  Golgo 13 is the man who has killed him and now Dawson, who has friends in low places and everywhere else, uses his wealth to enlist the CIA, FBI and U.S. military in an unrelenting manhunt for his sonís killer.  Golgo 13 is now the hunted and every kill he makes, someone is watching him, stalking him or attacking him. He is in a fight for his life and it's going to take more than one bullet, one kill to stop this madman in what has become a game of kill or be killed. 

Golgo 13 is a very intense action anime. There is a lot of nudity in this film and a lot of violence, but both are backed up with a sophisticated storyline, some excellent writing, animation and storytelling. The first film to blend 3D computer animation with traditional animation techniques, the film still stands the test of time now with a crisp new transfer, digitally re-mastered 5.1 audio in both English and Japanese with English subtitles.  Now on DVD, there are plenty of extras, including a still art gallery, trailers and an interview with producer Mata Yamamoto.  You will not want to miss out on this wonderful anime.

A hit when it came out in 1983, The Professional Golgo 13 is ready to attract a new breed of viewers.  Blood, sex, violence and a story to back it all up-what more can you ask for? The ending alone is reason enough to pick this film up. It will leave you asking questions, and wanting more.  And more you can get.  Golgo 13: Queen Bee was released on DVD several years ago and provides the viewer with more reasons to enjoy the slick, heatless killer in action. 

In the sequel, Golgo 13 seeks to assassinate the Queen Bee before she puts bullet into the head of a presidential candidate. His assignment is to kill Queen Bee, the leader of a South American Liberation Army. She wants revenge on her father who abandoned her. The Queen Bee's father hopes to be President and couldn't let the fact that he had a child out of wedlock destroy his political chances. So the presidential hopeful tells his running mate to take care of the problem, by paying them off. What he doesn't realize is that the vice-presidential hopeful kills the mother and rapes the daughter (The Queen Bee) before sending her off. So the Queen Bee is out to right the wrongs of the past and have lots of sex along the way. This woman gets around, sleeping with her fellow troops, her boss, and even Golgo 13 himself. Pretty damn cool.

This film contains nonstop action, lots of blood, sex, violence and more nudity than even I am accustomed to. This story contains an intricate plot filled with twists and turns, action and intrigue. I must admit that I laughed a few times as sex just comes out of nowhere and seems to be put there for the sake of being put there. The Professional: Golgo 13 was pretty much the same and though I laughed at how casual the sex seems to be, I applaud it as well. It has a B-movie feel to it, done in an A-class way. I love this series!

The film totally captures the essence of the first film and rounds out the lead character, although Golgo 13 is not actually in Queen Bee as much as in the first one. This story focuses more on Queen Bee and her exploits. You learn enough about her to care. It is almost as if you are seeing this all through Golgo 13's eyes. And while Golgo 13 has never given up on an assignment, can he actually kill a woman who is not as bad as she seems? Will he do the unthinkable act of murdering a woman who just wants to get revenge on the man who had killed her mother and raped her? Can Golgo 13 carry out the demands of the real bad guy in this whole tale? You will have to watch this film to find out.

Golgo 13 is a legend and if you haven't seen it, I suggest you go out and see both Golgo 13: Queen Bee and the first film Professional: Golgo 13. If you don't, you might just find him standing at your door.


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at