Golgo 13: The Professional
Golgo 13 is THE hit-man. If you can afford him, it's guaranteed that he'll take down anyone for a price. When the infamous hit man is hired to kill the son of a rich corporate owner, he finds himself being hunted by just about everyone. Even the government wants him dead, and dredges up some of the most psychopathic killers they can find to do the job. Could this be more than even Golgo 13 can handle? And just who wants him dead so badly? The answer could surprise you once you actually know the truth...
One of the longest running manga series in Japan, Golgo 13 is based on a tried and true formula. It's mostly plot based and it doesn't focus on Golgo 13 as much as you would think. Instead it feels more like a mystery by unveiling the secrets of a hit man so skilled he can pull off things most would consider impossible - sometimes that's even his alibi. Which makes it strange why they would make a movie completely missing the point of Golgo 13, instead dumping him into a tired 80's action movie. Only one assassination is in the interesting over the top style typical of Togo. For that matter he never does anything clever throughout the entire film, but is simply impossible to kill due to the 80's reality distortion field where bullets and explosions can have no effect on the protagonist.
That's not to say that the action sucks, it's interesting in an overblown action kind of way, and there's lots of sex... and nudity.. then some more explosions and killing before we get back to the sex. It's hard to talk about the plot since there isn't much of one, but it does have a decent twist at the end. Character wise Togo has never been a strong character as far as development. The lead villain in this is a man who's obsession drives him to become a monster and he works pretty well for this film, but they also drag out other psycho assassins to kill Togo, but they feel misplaced and better suited to a superhero comic.. Musically this is an 80s anime and has all that funky 80's anime music I've come to love.
The animation is a complicated topic. There is a lot of work put in to this title and it shows with smooth movement, and good designs (for its time). Where Golgo 13 differs is in artistic presentation. Much of the show is standard anime stuff, but this movie takes it to the next level with intriguing usage of angles, split screens, and unusual perspectives. To this day, few titles have attempted this level of artistry. Where this backfired is the cgi rendering of the opening sequence and a helicopter attack. While cutting edge for its day (1983) it looks hilariously bad now, and even terrible compared to a Play Station 1 game.
With a cheesy action flare typical of the 80's, most of this title is forgettable aside from the heavy amount of sex involved. Golgo 13 isn't a likable protagonist without understanding his context, so if you're not familiar with the franchise you'll hate him. You might consider watching other franchise titles first. For a high budget 80s anime it makes a good showing.
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