Review: Golgo 13: The Professional

Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it: The Golgo 13 movie (or, Golgo 13: The Professional, as it’s known in the States) is an absolutely horrible movie. Having just seen about 14 episodes of the TV series, I knew kind of what I was in for, but never did I guess that this movie would reach such heights of complete unadulterated terribleness. This is pure garbage, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s absolutely the worst thing one could ever think to watch. And that’s what makes it worth searching out.

When I say searching out, I mean Google searching. This movie is not by any means worth your money. It’s junk, but it is worth pirating, and you do get your effort’s worth in the end, since this movie is terribly entertaining for the 90 minutes that it runs. It’s a party that plays out like a pulpy comic book, with stunts that defy the laws of everything, larger than life characters that could never exist in this world and 3D CG skeletons that fire revolvers into 3D CG skulls. It’s almost a perfect mix of pure and utter shit that just nearly pushes this movie into “so bad it’s good” territory.

Just nearly, though. What keeps this movie from working at its full potential is Dezaki’s direction. For some reason, the man treats this as an art film, taking every possible moment to be as goddamn experimental as possible. This however isn’t altogether a bad thing. In fact, I quite liked what he was doing until the last 20 or so minutes, when shots just stopped making sense. It’s the climax of the film– there’s no room for awkward directorial choices that entail repeating the same frame of a crazed old man’s face over and over again on the screen; nor is there room to break out the 1983 computers to render some helicopters that look straight out of Comanche 3D. Except worse. Yeah, I know you guys thought that 3D opening was cool– I thought it was ok myself– but seriously, 1983.

Speaking of that opening, it’s quite a piece of work. It would be almost good if they could’ve worked out how to make the animation not jump all the fucking time. Perhaps also mix in some cel-animated naked ladies to go along with that snazzy jazz piece for the full James Bond effect.

Anyways, time to cool down. I’ve shat on this thing long enough, so let’s switch gears and talk about the stuff I didn’t find totally awkward or ironically good. The animation is really great 80s stuff– very fluid and organic looking, with great lighting and shading effects. There are a few unfinished cuts floating around the film, but they’re few and far between. The music is also wonderfully 80s, and suits the film well. It’s a lot better than that horrible synth shit they use in the new TV series.

Really, the only thing that keeps this film from being totally BALLS TO THE WALL awesome is Dezaki’s approach to directing this thing. Which is weird, since he can do stuff like this well. The Space Adventure Cobra TV series is a great straight up action piece, and has no pretensions at all. But then again, the Cobra movie, also by Dezaki, is another wannabe art movie. Maybe he feels he has to prove himself as a director when he’s making big things– I don’t know. But what I do know is that the only person who can make that kind of shit work is Shinbo, as demonstrated in his confused masterpiece SoulTaker.

But with all that said, I do recommend this film for a one off, or for something to watch with your buds. It’s very entertaining, not too long, and delivers pure 1000% trash, even with all that distracting arthouse direction.

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6 Responses to Review: Golgo 13: The Professional

  1. DrmChsr0 says:

    You need more Hidamari Sketch in your watchings, man.

  2. as says:

    > In fact, I quite liked what he was doing until the last 20 or so minutes, when shots just stopped making sense. It’s the climax of the film– there’s no room for awkward directorial choices

    That was my favorite part of Haibane Renmei.

  3. Martin says:

    The direction was indeed quite artsy and sophisticated, which made it look even more out of place when EVERYTHING ELSE about the movie was pure trash. For its time the cel animation is alright actually, but those helicopters…Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing PV ages well in comparison!

    The balance of mature and trashy really doesn’t help – you really do have to stop taking it at all seriously to get any entertainment value out of it. “so bad it’s good” is a pretty fair assessment.

    It is also worth noting that the Huerrgh Factor, aka the Essence of Gar, is believed to be found in unheard-of quantities in Duke Togo’s bodily fluids but since he never breaks a sweat under any circumstances I have yet to prove this theory.

  4. harakiri says:

    Once you said it was by Dezaki I knew what you were talking about. I have only seen Clannad movie and the first episode of Ultraviolet Code 044 from his works but holy shit I think I’ve never seen anything more unprofessional, childish and simply horrible. How can a man like this find a job in the animation industry? xD

  5. Well he doesn’t write the stuff, he just directs it. Dezaki was pretty good back in the day when he was doing things like Ashita no Joe, The Rose of Versailles and Space Adventure Cobra. His style is pretty good in this movie, but it just doesn’t work with the story.

  6. otou-san says:

    Sounds ridiculous enough to try, but what I’m really curious about is the live-action Golgo movie from the 70s that stars Sonny Chiba. Maybe I should netflix it…