The Professional: Golgo 13 (1983)

Tetsurô Sagawa, Gorô Naya, Toshiko Fujita, Kôsei Tomita,
Golgo 13 is a movie starring Tetsur? Sagawa, Gor? Naya, and Toshiko Fujita. After killing the son of a powerful oil tycoon, an infamous hit-man becomes the target of American soldiers and superhuman killers.
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Takao Saitô, Shûkei Nagasaka, Gregory Snegoff, Writer:
  • Osamu Dezaki, Director:
  • Nobuo Inada, Carl Macek, Producer:

All subtitles:



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7 / 10

stylish kill-fest

James Bond served Japanese-style. Not much character development of Golgo 13, just a suave assassin who enjoys the pleasures of women. Just look at his face during the coupling scenes and you see that his blood runs ice-cold. There is much humour, and many ridiculous killers, from Snake to Silver & Gold. The narrative telling the background story of Silver & Gold is priceless and worth the viewing of this film just for that scene. I am talking about the 2 guys dropped into the jungle without food or weapons for 30 days and they both killed a whole army of guys.

10 / 10

If ever there were a film that should have spawned a franchise...

This anime adaptation of Takao Saito's long-running manga classic is one of my all-time favorite action movies, animated or otherwise, and I'm at a loss to explain why so many dyed-in-the-wool anime junkies despise it (cruise the internet and you'll see what I mean).

Duke Togo is the world's greatest assassin-for-hire, better known as "Golgo 13," and if you're on his list you might as well dig the hole because there is no way, repeat, NO WAY you will elude him. Once he's hired, it's your ass. Togo's adventures take him across the globe, and his skills with weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, and damned near anything else a human being could master are constantly put to hair-raising tests. Though lacking in actual meta-human superpowers, Togo could nonetheless be considered a superman, so with that in mind it's seldom in doubt that he'll come out on top in any given situation, so the suspense lies in seeing just how the hell he's going to pull off the often impossible assignments he chooses to accept. All of this information is old news to readers of the venerable manga series, but it's given the most cursory noting in the feature, seen briefly in a C.I.A. transcript at the film's beginning, but it's vital to suspending one's disbelief and once past that we're immediately thrust into Togo's violent world.

Gazillionaire industrialist Leonard Dawson throws a birthday party for his son, Leonard Jr., aboard his private cruise ship, a lavish ceremony in which he names his son heir and successor to his empire, but Dawson's elation is shattered when his son is surgically shot through the forehead with but a single bullet, killing him instantly. The assassin: Duke Togo. The senior Dawson, now nearly insane with grief, launches an all-out war against Golgo 13, employing the most vicious and lethal professionals that his bottomless coffers can procure, including horrific ex-military sociopaths, crooked intelligence officials, and an unspeakably terrifying monster of a man who rightly goes by the moniker "Snake," all while Togo hops the globe carrying out other "jobs." Togo must stay one step ahead of his assailants, each as hard as he is, and figure out how to survive one Christ Almighty perfect storm of graphic violence. And there also lurks the mystery that spurs the plot: exactly who wanted the junior Dawson murdered, and why?

Loaded with more action than most films have any right to possess, Golgo 13 is a breathless kick in the ass that fans of old school James Bond and other such espionage will simply eat up. I first saw it on an untranslated VHS tape in 1986 and I've been a staunch supporter ever since, sharing it with as many people as I can convince to give it a chance despite its reputation as a bomb. I think it may come off a tame when compared to the later excesses in Japanese animation, such as post-apocalyptic slug-fest filled with showering viscera, city- leveling psychic children and titanic robots, female ninjas with poisonous naughty bits, and the ever-popular spectacle of sailor-suited schoolgirls having their every orifice explored by the tentacles and other bits of demonic rapists just before they explode in a torrent of offal and demonic DNA, but Golgo 13 has all of them beat for sheer quality entertainment that even your parents might dig.

9 / 10

All Attitude, No Feeling

The plot is a good backdrop for the style and the action, but it's irrelevant to the quality of the film.

'Golgo 13' loves showing things indirectly, be it by looking at things through a mirror, by looking through an obstacle like a fence, by showing the effect of an action symbolically, or (beware the twist) by only showing the effect to imply the action, OR simply by obscuring the view with bright light, smoke, flames, spurting blood,...

It even more loves looking at single elements individually. They say about Leone's and Tarantino's movies that even the smallest character is the star of the movie for the moment he is in that widescreen frame. In 'Golgo 13' every inanimate object, animal or body part can be the movie's star for a moment. A finger cocking a gun becomes an act of god.

The style is over the top from beginning to end, less by means of multiplication of the glorified things and actions but more by means of subtraction of unnecessary elements. We know people need a floor to walk on, we don't need to see the floor at any given moment. We also know where a character is at once we have seen a wide shot, we can see the character in blank space or any other background that reflects his thoughts or emotions and we still remember what the factual surroundings are.

Although many of those approaches are typical of Japanese animated films not many are as convicted in following them or as inventive in their execution.

The visual power of the movie doesn't come from the individual images, the key of its power lies in the motion.

There isn't a sequence without movement and should there be such a rare moment then it isn't there to last for more than a second. It's like hungry vultures circling around dead meat for hours and hours with deadly patience. The cadaver can't run away but it very well can be snatched away by competitive scavengers. - 'Golgo 13' reeks of death. Everyone will die, it's just a question of when. Nihilism means seeing everyone dead already. To the characters in 'Golgo 13' taking a life is equalized by the notion of creating something new, the notion of giving birth to death. In this world without meaning the assassin Golgo 13 has the edge because he counts himself into the equation. He won't think twice before risking his life, he looks death in the face like he would look in the face of his mother. To be is not to be. By the end the whole world seems to come crashing down and no character cares to go on living anymore. The movie is all attitude, no feeling, and it's so consequent at this that it becomes a statement.

9 / 10

He shoots! He scores!

The baddest professional asassain I've ever seen! Good anime flick. The main character, golgo 13 is a character so stoic, so stonefaced, that he hardly cracks even a hint of emotion even when in the act of having hot sex. There's a good deal of that in the movie, and it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the plot, but that's the standard bug about most anime movies I've seen. Oh well, the kiddos should get a good thrill out of it anyway. The action is intense! This guy is an amazing shot, with either his modified M 16 or his revolver. My favorite scene is when he goes head to head with Snake (a repulsive, toothless villain who uses bladed yo-yos to kill his victims. I'm not making this up,) in an elevator. The final brawl he had with the twin killers Silver and Gold was cool too, but given how much they hyped up the two characters beforehand, I frankly expected them to put up more of a fight. Anyway, it's a great anime flick.

10 / 10

Best Anime Ever.

Since this is now out on DVD, none of you have any excuse for not having seen it. When it comes to assassins, Golgo 13 is the man. Period. (He's not too shabby with the ladies either.) After completing one of his jobs, a hit on a powerful and very connected businessman's son, he becomes the target for revenge. Killing Golgo 13, though, is no easy task at all. The story here is solid, with some great moments (like the ending), cool sub-plots, twisted characters, and plenty of bloody action. The execution of this classic (1983) anime is, in a word, stylish. Freeze frames, split screens, and other such techniques are prevalent throughout. There's also a noirish feel to much of the film, often accompanied by soft, bluesy-type music. Of course, being made so many years ago, much of it seems dated (especially the very early CGI helicopters) but for me, it's a minor complaint?the movie still rocks hard. Check it out. Now. (If you don't have a proper audio system, I recommend changing the track on the DVD to mono to avoid a tinny echo sound on the voices.)