Golgo 13: Queen Bee

Some good things never die. Unfortunately, some bad things just keep going and going. The Golgo 13 manga series has been running for over 30 years in Japan, and that's the good thing.

Golgo 13, for those of you under a rock, is the running exploits of an amoral assassin who charges a million a shot and who has never been known to leave a job unfinished. The comic book has its share of good and bad stories over the years, but it's an enjoyable if violent tale, and I rather like it. The movie, released in the mid-80s, removed a lot of the likable characteristics--or maybe we just saw what the tale on the page would be like in real life? Nevertheless, it was generally unpleasant. The biggest problem and complaint with the film was that no one was likable, not even the protagonist. This notwithstanding, the original movie was popular because it did have some great action sequences and womanly flesh abounding.

In this hour-long 'sequel' (though it has no plot carryover), Golgo 13 is hired by a vice-presidential candidate to take out a woman code-named Queen Bee, a terrorist who has made numerous death threats towards his running mate. Golgo accepts and the hunt begins. However, nothing is ever too simple, and Queen Bee is not only a somewhat sympathetic character, she has deep ties to the candidate's dark past. Although Golgo will finish his job--his history assures us of that--his soul may still require him to do the right thing.

What's surprising about this OVA is that the producers apparently learned from the first movie that characters that are vaguely appealing make for a better movie, and Queen Bee brings some emotional resonance to the movie. It's got plenty of action and nudity, too...so why does it fail? First off, the show should be called Queen Bee: Featuring Golgo 13. The story is really hers. I'm not even certain that Golgo has as much screen time as she does. Sure, Golgo is a shadowy character suited to short appearances, but the comic book plots revolved around him and were better for it. Second, just as the show starts becoming somewhat interesting, the dialogue lapses badly. When Queen Bee starts spouting her political rhetoric right before demonstrating her womanly ways, it's beyond cheesy. Finally, the fact that Golgo never changes hurts. In most movies, characters grow and develop; Golgo is a constant.

This film will certainly appeal to fans of the first, as the animation is good and the plotting reasonable; it just holds no interest to me. If you do see the show, make sure to watch the credits--important stuff happens as the ending music plays.

Golgo 13: Queen Bee -- graphic violence, adult language and situations, nudity -- C