Reviewby Allen Divers, Jan 2nd 2002
Golgo 13: Queen Bee
Special Edition DVD (movie)
Politics are a dangerous game. When a mysterious woman threatens a presidential candidate, his backers seek an assassin to eliminate the problem. When Golgo 13 is called in on a job, he sees it out to the end.
But in all political games, what is seen is not necessarily the truth. As Golgo 13 pursues his target, the truth slowly becomes clear. This mysterious woman, known as the Queen Bee has many secrets, and her true ties to the presidential candidate become clear. Will Golgo 13 stop her in time, or become her next victim?
Golgo 13 – Queen Bee Special Edition DVD is an original feature based on the popular Golgo 13 manga. This movie reunites much of the original staff that worked together on The Professional: Golgo 13, the first movie in this series. Queen Bee is the second movie, coming some 13 years after the original. The Special Edition DVD contains both the original Japanese soundtrack as well as an English Dub.
Based on a rather gritty manga, Queen Bee presents the world of Golgo 13 as a cold and dark place. As such, the character designs are not the friendly big-eyed characters more familiar to Anime fans. These designs tend to follow the idea of big bulky muscular men and tall lean and well-endowed women. The world of Golgo 13 is also a very violent one, so the violence is very graphic in nature.
The grittiness continues into both soundtracks as well. Remastered in 5.1, both soundtracks strive to carry out the visual atmosphere presented. In both, the music is given a slight jazzy feel, but is often subdued. More priority is given to the sound effects: gun shots, screams and explosions.
The English dub does a good job of remaining true to the original Japanese version. No bad choices for voices stand out and all the acting stays pretty close to character. It did feel at times as if the actors were whispering in comparison to the other sound effects and music playing, but for the most part this fit with the atmosphere presented.
The big plus for this special edition DVD is the inclusion of commentary by the director, Osamu Dezaki and the executive producer, Mataichiro Yamamoto. This commentary is in Japanese, with English sub-titles. The commentary gives some insights into what went on behind the scenes, and why they made certain decisions. They even talk about scenes that didn't make it into the movie, and why they weren't included. Mr. Dezaki and Mr. Yamamoto do get bogged down a bit on one topic, and don't comment on every single scene of the movie. One other negative is the commentary soundtrack does not play any sound from the movie. This of course, gives the viewer more time to listen and read the sub-titles, but unless she's watched the movie before, she may be confused as to what they are commenting on. The commentary helps the viewer see a lot of the background of the movie, and why the material was presented in the manner seen. A lot more could have been said, but at least it's a step in the right direction as far as Anime DVD extras go.
The movie itself is an original story based on the Golgo 13 manga. It's a complicated political drama, with many twists and turns to keep any true drama fan happy. Just when it feels like the viewer has a handle on the plot and motivations of the characters, some new twist jumps up to throw everyone in new directions. Although he is the main character, Golgo 13 seems more of a plot device as the main action revolves around Queen Bee. The viewer is drawn more into her world, and comes to sympathize with her plight and why she is taking the actions that she is.
Golgo 13: Queen Bee is a gritty political thriller that does a good job of keeping the audience on their toes. It's commentary is a bit lacking, but overall, a good step in the right direction and a nice touch to what is considered a Special Edition DVD.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : B
+ Gritty political thriller
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