Golgo 13: Kûron no kubi (The Kowloon Assignment) (1977)
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Critic Reviews for Golgo 13: Kûron no kubi (The Kowloon Assignment)
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Audience Reviews for Golgo 13: Kûron no kubi (The Kowloon Assignment)
Gave this one another look in advance of listening to a podcast review of it - it holds up really well, as Chiba is a killing machine who moves easily through gangs of thugs and avoids the pursuit of a tenacious cop while trying to prevent him from carrying out his assassination mission. Fun stuff, well worth a look, give it a rental.
While watching "Golgo 13" I kept asking myself why I never hunted down more Sonny Chiba films before. Sure I heard about his "Street Fighter" series and even saw Chiba in films prior to this but he was always in a small bit part. Now finally getting my hands on a Chiba box set that actually has films where his is the main star I can see why this guy has such a huge following. This guy is B.A.D.A.S.S. He defines the word "badassary" and he might even become one of my top 3 action stars if more of his films are as badass as "Golgo 13". So what is Golgo 13 stand for? Well it is the code name for Sonny Chiba who is the world's best hit man and the Golgo portion stands for Golgotha, the mountain Christ was crucified on, and the 13 is the number of the disciple that put the crown of thorns upon his head. Any assassin who has a code name with that deep of meaning is a guy you don't want to mess with! Golgo is so good at his job that he only meets with his hirer once, unless of course something goes wrong with the mission. He also is a supreme marksman and as the interesting quirk of never shaking hands. Golgo gets hired to kill a drug lord in Hong Kong and while on his mission the Hong Kong police force are on his trail. A hard ass cop tails Golgo to Tokyo to try to capture him before he carries out his next mission. Sonny Chiba is perfectly cast as our cold, ruthless and calculating assassin and this guy may be an even more menacing assassin than Charles Bronson in "The Mechanic" and coming from a Charles Bronson fan that comes as a grand praise. Chiba just has such an intense face with his menacing eyebrows make it look like this guy could break your neck or tear your throat out at any moment. Not only is he menacing to look at he also brings a perfect physicality to the character in the films great action sequences, my favorite being him descending on a crane, throwing a spear in mid drop to impale a guy shooting at him. This guy is truely great as his job! The plot can be a little hard to follow at times, especially in its original Japanese language format but the dubbing in the English language version isn't great, hindering the films hard edged power. The dubbed version also includes a rather poor narration at the end to make it clear to the audience how Golgo outsmarted the cops and managed to complete his mission. Golgo 13 was based on the popular Japanese Manga comic book series and this is actually the second film adaption of the character (the first version was made in 1973). Though I have not seen that film or any of the animated films made later, it's hard to imagine they are any better than this. The ending is left open for a sequel but sadly one never got made bringing a tear to my eye that it never materialized into a franchise. "Golgo 13" (released in America as Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment) is a violent badass assassin film that is a must for action film fans craving good action films that are out-side American Hollywood mold. Chiba is extremely badass and has a charm to him making Golgo 13 perhaps the best hitman to ever grace the screen. It's arguable of course but Golgo 13 is tops on my list for best film assassin. I can only imagine what future action director John Woo would have been able to craft with Sonny Chiba while this intense actor was in his prime.
There is no point in making this difficult. You haven’t got a hope in hell. Duke Togo is a secret agent that has been hired to bring down another assassin that has been unsuccessful in his work, a guy named Polanski. Detective Smith feels something is not on the up-and-up and is hot on the trail of Togo. Can Togo bring down Polanski prior to being arrested by Detective Smith? “My sister, she killed herself.” “Oh, shut-up.” Yukio Noda, director of The Karate 2 & 3, Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs, Assassin, Gangster Cop, and Wolves of the City, delivers Golgo 13. The storyline for this picture is interest and well delivered but not particularly interesting. The acting is better than average and the cast included Sonny Chiba, Lun Chia, and Jerry Ito. “Diplomatic immunity was made for parking tickets but drugs are something different.” Golgo 13 is a film I encountered as part of the Kill Chiba series. This film was fairly entertaining and worth viewing; however, it is not one of Chiba’s better films (I adore the Masutatsu Oyama collection), but it is still worth your time. Chiba generally delivers worthwhile action pictures and his action scenes are always stupendous. While this film feels like a poor man’s Bond picture, Chiba still delivers a better than average performance. “The girl was a notorious hit woman.” Grade: C+
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