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Golgo 13, one of Japan's longest-running manga series, has been drawn by Takao Saito since 1969. Its unsmiling hero, Duke Togo, has never revealed anything about his past. Instead, he wanders the world and kills people for a living, a modern ronin with a code name constructed from purest evil: the unlucky number 13 and the first two syllables of "Golgotha." An immense hit with middle-aged businessmen, Duke gets to travel the world, screw foreign chicks, and shoot unpleasant people. Although inspired by the James Bond films, he doesn't even pretend to be working for good. He is totally amoral.
In the 1983 film, Duke is hired by a mystery client to kill the heir of a wealthy businessman. The businessman offers the sexual favors of his newly widowed daughter-in-law to a psychotic killer on the understanding that the son's death will be avenged. And so begins a series of tit-for-tat escalations, risible dialogue, embarrassing characterizations, and a ludicrous procession of gunfights, as the two assassins kill and shag their way toward a final confrontation.
Director Dezaki treats Duke's quest as a modern samurai adventure, with improbable leaps and slices replaced by improbable marksmanship and setups (watch the moment Duke shoots someone through a building). He also experimented with computer graphics in a helicopter assault scene, inserting now-dated CG that makes it not unlike watching an old Atari console. But Dezaki would retain his obsession with out-of-place CG, using it once again in his later Black Jack. Duke would return in a video sequel, Golgo 13: Queen Bee (1998), in which Duke is assigned to kill Sonia, the titular South American nymphomaniac drug baroness, before she can carry out her own threat to murder a presidential candidate running on a Just-Say-No platform. Before his two lower budget anime outings, the assassin also appeared in two live-action incarnations, Golgo 13 (1973), starring Ken Takakura, and Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon (1977), starring Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba. LNV