Golgo 13: Queen Bee

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“A tale with plenty of sting, but too much sexual bee-haviour.”

Four stars but no seal of approval? That’s because this is about the most wildly variable animated film I’ve seen. The story and characters are great, but the frequent sex scenes are incredibly tedious and clearly put in solely for the teenage male fan (all pneumatic breasts and moaning). It’s rare for me to say this, but they are genuinely gratuitous, and the film could have coped fine without them.

Between times, there’s certainly plenty going on in terms of plot. Ultra-taciturn hitman Golgo 13 is hired to kill narco-terrorist Queen Bee, who has been sending threatening letters to a presidential candidate. From here an entire web is spun (sorry, failed to come up with a bee analogy!) of deceit, double-dealing and death. The anti-heroine comes across rather better than the anti-hero, since you see more about her background, and she’s certainly a fascinating personality, even in a grim world where no-one is innocent.

The animation uses every trick in the book to mixed effect, with some of the violence particularly well-executed. The tape I saw was dubbed, which is another reason to deny it the seal, though the voice acting here is largely painless (it helps that Golgo 13 has about five lines!). It may yet make it: I’ll likely pick up the subtitled DVD sometime, with a director’s commentary, apparently revealing that the candidate and his adviser were shown as gay lovers in a deleted scene. Frankly, I’d have been happy to trade that for one of the heterosexual encounters.

Dir: Osamu Dezaki
Star (voice, English dub): Denise Poirier, Carlos Ferro, Dwight Shultz, John Dimaggio

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