Golgo 13: Queen Bee
The mysterious assassin Golgo 13 is well known for his reputation of never giving up an assignment once he has taken it and his high rates of success. When a Democratic presidential contender is being threatened by Queen Bee, the leader of a South American guerrilla group, Golgo 13 is retained to kill her before she kills the candidate. Soon Golgo 13, Duke Togo, finds himself ensnared in a web of lies, violence, and intrigue, but that doesn't matter because Golgo 13 always completes his assignments no matter what.
While I am hardly an expert on story development, I tend to assume that one basic principle of fiction involves getting your viewer interested in the character. While love and hate are opposites, both mean that the viewer is engaged somewhat with the character.
Duke Togo, known by his codename of Golgo 13, is the world's least interesting character. He has no personality, no emotion, no apparent motivation. Duke is simply a killing machine. That part doesn't bother me; it just is the fact that we never get any insight at all into his past or any small bit of information that shed a little light on what this man is like. I have a bias toward character development and quite frankly Duke Togo could have been replaced with an automatic robot-controlled machine gun and it would have made little difference to this story.
Actually, that isn't true. You see Duke Togo does have one other characteristic that wouldn't easily be replaced by aforementioned machine gun: he likes to have sex. Actually, I don't know if he does like sex, because every time he does have sex in this movie he shows utterly no emotion or any other sign of remotely enjoying it. Maybe he's trying to find something he likes. He's good at killing but he doesn't seem to like that. Maybe he's just really bored. I don't know. The movie doesn't give me a chance to know.
The main antagonist at least is a bit more interesting since she actually demonstrates some human qualities. She apparently likes to have sex too. She likes to have a lot of sex in fact. You know, as a young man in his twenties, I'm hardly going to say I have a particular objection to the depiction of sex in entertainment, but the sex in this title goes beyond gratuitous. I mean try to at least fit it a bit more smoothly into the general plot.
While the action is pretty decent, you quickly realize that the enemy forces could probably deploy an entire Marine infantry division against Duke Togo, and he would only take a few wounds while neatly killing every last Marine. It isn't like Duke is particularly creative or interesting when he kills people either. Without style or dramatic tension, the action scenes just end up feeling average.
The plot is perhaps less straightforward than it could have been providing a few interesting twists here and there but nothing substantially interesting. Though in the end, everything comes off a bit contrived and I found myself just not caring because of the shallow characterizations.
This title's animation isn't particularly spectacular in this title, though it isn't horrid either. However, they are far too fond of artistic freeze-frame type shots. This movie leans heavily on style and I suppose it has some of that, but not enough to make up for everything else. I didn't particularly care for the character design work, but that isn't to say that it is necessarily bad, just that I have different artistic preferences.
Maybe if Duke had a personality or, I don't know, knew some of that Gun-Fu from Equilibrium, he might have been interesting. When the action scenes are uninteresting in an action movie, that's trouble. Add a star if you really like heroes who can take out numerous people with apparent minimum risk to themselves. Subtract a star if you don't like action movies or are offended by sexual content. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: Lots of people get gunned down, stabbed, bludgeoned, or otherwise killed. We have assaults on women, children, and of course all that sex. This should be kept for more the adult crowd.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Golgo 13: Queen Bee © 1998 BMG Victor / Goodhill Vision
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