Golgo 13: Queen Bee - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £15.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Golgo 13

Golgo 13: Queen Bee

By Dani Moure     August 26, 2004
Release Date: August 02, 2004


Golgo 13: Queen Bee
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Code Name: Golgo 13 - Professional assassin.

Target: Queen Bee - leader of a dissident South American liberation army.

Mission: Terminate the infamous Queen Bee before she kills a high profile presidential candidate

Problem: Queen Bee is not your average guerilla radical. As a child, she was ripped unmercifully from her home and left to fend for herself on the streets. As a woman, cunning and powerful, she lives only for passion and revenge; her brand of honey is deadly. Once Golgo 13 discovers Queen Bee's true identity, he decides that he must step aside as a very personal feud climaxes to a tragic end that will blow you away!

With its intricate plot and pulse-pounding action, 'Golgo 13: Queen Bee' stays true to the thrilling scenarios that have made the Golgo 13 character such a success!

The Review!
Following up the original 1983 movie The Professional: Golgo 13 comes another adaptation of the long-running manga series, in the form of Golgo 13: Queen Bee.

Audio:
I listened to the Japanese 5.1 track for my main viewing. With a lot of action, the track comes off quite nicely with some good effects and directionality. It's a very immersive track that you can just sit back and enjoy. I noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

I spot-checked the English track, and it was quite enjoyable and flowed well. I also noticed no technical problems with the track.

Video:
The disc looks quite good in the visual department. The animation comes across really well in a crisp and vibrant way, with no noticeable artifacting or aliasing during regular playback. I also didn't notice any nicks or scratches on the transfer, nor any cross-colouration. It really does look surprisingly nice.

Subtitles are in a nice, readable yellow font, the usual for Madman-authored MVM releases.

Packaging:
No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

Menu:
The menus are a straightforward affair. The main menu is static with a piece of background music playing. Artwork of Queen Bee, and an ominous pose from Golgo 13 takes the right half of the screen, with the logo and options taking up the other side of the screen. Setup and Extras menus are also static, but silent, both utilising artwork (of Golglo and Queen Bee respectively), while the scene selection menu presents stills from each of the scenes.

Extras:
There's only one meaty extra, but it's a good one. A feature commentary by director Osamu Dezaki and executive producer Mataichiro Yamamoto. It's quite an informative commentary that shows their interest and passion for the franchise, and talk very highly of it, mentioning the ideas of doing a TV series, and why it took so long to do another movie after the first. It's definitely an intriguing listen and they share some interesting anecdotes about the film itself, too.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The character of Golgo 13 comes from the long running manga of the same name. His original animated outing was in 1983, in a movie released in the UK on VHS by Manga Entertainment. I remember seeing it on TV several years ago and enjoying it, though it typified the sort of release at the time, with a bit of sex and violence rolled in to an action movie. In 1998, another movie was made, and that's what we have here in Queen Bee. The story has shifted since the movie, and from what I remember the two are basically unrelated aside from Golgo 13's presence in both. Interestingly though, this movie takes the focus firmly away from Golgo himself, and focuses the majority of its time on the story of the other titular character, Queen Bee.

The story takes place at the time of an upcoming US presidential election. Robert Hardy is running for the position of President but the real player is a man called Thomas Waltham. He basically controls Hardy and has him addicted to drugs and the like, Hardy being a complete mess. A leader of a dissident South American liberation army named Queen Bee is homing in on him though, wanting to assassinate him before he wins the election as he is the complete favourite with Waltham behind him. Golgo 13 is then hired himself to eliminate Queen Bee before she can carry out her mission.

However, as discovered after much sex and violence, it turns out that there is a very personal reason for Queen Bee targeting Hardy. Despite following her, Golgo 13 seems to stop in every attempt to kill her, presumably understanding her thirst for revenge. But when Golgo 13 doesn't get the job done, yet another assassin is hired to take Queen Bee out, but he has to get past Golgo himself, who will always complete his assignments.

When she travels back to her home, we also get an insight into the character and past of Queen Bee. She has numerous children back home, all by different fathers, clearly having been hugely impacted by the events that took place when she was a child. But nonetheless, she is much loved by the people she is with, who want her to be there when the liberation takes place. It all leads to a dramatic conclusion with a couple of interesting twists, but just about everyone seems to get some form of vengeance.

Despite the short run-time, Queen Bee makes it out surprisingly well in terms of story. There are several twists and turns in the plot that are actually quite interesting, with a few nice moments at the end and everyone getting their comeuppance, with a bit of tragedy thrown in there too. The story is pretty tightly scripted making pretty much every scene count, be it for character building or plot-related. The writers did do well to allow enough time to develop most of the main characters quite well so we know their motives and purpose, which is something that is quite difficult in a short time and is often a stumbling block of shorter features such as this. It's very interesting, though, that the writers took the option of having Golgo himself appear only for a relatively small time, which is quite unusual since he is the focus of the franchise. Nevertheless, it actually worked out quite well because there's an aura of mystery and intrigue around him from the appearances we do get, and his rather cocky, professional mindset comes across well. You just know this is a man that gets results.

As the focus of the movie, Queen Bee makes it out best, getting a really interesting backstory that shows what a tragic life she has led. She's well developed in that regard, so we can always see the reasons why she does what she does. I have to admit that it was a little bit strange and annoying to see her sleep with pretty much anyone, though, and not only that but also having children by many of them. I don't think any words quite describe her behaviour, to be honest, as she's gone to such an extreme as the result of her childhood! Her relationship with the children is quite sweet though, and shows a more caring, sensitive side than the dirty, cold natured killer she can often be.

The other two main characters of Hardy and Waltham are pretty interesting, too. Seeing how Waltham has total control and has manipulated Hardy to such an extent is quite disturbing. He has basically destroyed Hardy's life from behind the scenes in order to elevate himself, and it's obvious that if Hardy was elected President, he wouldn't last long and Waltham would soon be at the forefront. Hardy comes good in the end, but Waltham remains the evil, manipulative person that he was.

Coming from 1998, the movie is well animated but retains quite an old-fashioned, 80s look and feel about it. The action scenes in particular make out quite well with a fair amount of detail. It also has some nice music throughout, and a good ending theme that fits the tone of the movie at that point.

In Summary:
Golgo 13: Queen Bee is quite a short movie, but it packs a fair amount of plot and action into it, with numerous twists and turns, and it comes off quite well indeed. It's not the best thing ever, but it's a good action movie that will provide a good hour of enjoyment to most viewers. It's also quite typical of the 90s mindset with lots of sex and violence, but it works quite well. It comes with a nice presentation on DVD from MVM, and at a decent price point there are far worse things you could spend your money on.

Features
Japanese Language (5.1),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Commentary with the Director and Executive Producer

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.

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