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And you thought Daniel Craig made a tough Bond…

You clearly haven’t met Golgo 13.

One of the longest running mangas out there, Golgo 13 has prompted all kinds of things from live-action movies to games and this first animated feature. Golgo 13: The Professional follows Duke, a stern hitman with a heart of stone who goes from job to job, taking out the people he’s been hired to get rid of, never getting emotionally involved. This is shown with all the grisly details, every gun shot looks like its pulverising these people from within, and we’re never made to particularly like this seemingly soulless killer. That is, until he meets the maniacal toothless Snake, a demented, reptile-like, Joker-like madman who actually enjoys terrifying people and even reveals rapist tendencies towards the end. He’s so odious that Golgo 13, in comparison, comes off as a true class act. Throughout the film, our hitman sure meets some shady douchebags including two twin brothers called Gold and Silver and a dodgy businessman willing to look the other way while his own daughter suffers horrible things at the hands of Snake. Golgo 13 is most definitely not for kids, it’s a dark and violent movie with nudity, impromptu sex scenes and a handful of genuinely disturbing moments. It’s more Oldboy than it is James Bond, in that sense.

Visually and in terms of tone, the film feels more 70’s than it does 80’s, perfectly capturing the sleaziness of that unforgiving world’s setting. With added Batman-style villains, of course. The film itself was made in 1983 and boasts some very early CGI animation in places. Director Osamu Dezaki also worked on the likes of Space Adventure Cobra and Black Jack so, if you watch anime at all, chances are you've seen some of his stuff somewhere. Being this dark and moody, Golgo 13 isn't exactly all fun and games so if you're looking for a light-hearted Bond-style animated flick you might want to turn to something like Detective Conan, Lupin III or City Hunter instead but that said, the film is really entertaining nonetheless. Seeing as we're following an anti-hero among a sea of messed-up people, it makes Golgo 13: The Professional pretty unpredictable and almost hypnotic. You're curious throughout to see if good old Duke will end up paying for his cold, questionable occupation or whether he will somehow get back in your good books. 

Not much more to say about this one except that it's very good and definitely worth checking out. It's stylish, gritty, unforgiving, slimy, cool, it's an adult 80's thriller with a touch of 70's sleaze and some terrific animation.


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