This animated feature is definitely not for the LITTLE MERMAID crowd. Directed by Osamu Dezaki and Carl Macek, THE PROFESSIONAL is a dark and extremely violent story of murder for hire. Excessive violence, gratuitous bloodshed and a large dose of sex tend to overshadow the film's
interesting art design and storyline.
Golgo 13 (Greg Snegoff) is an Asian assassin who works for anyone willing to pay his high price. A seemingly perfect male specimen, Golgo has never failed on a mission or with the ladies. The story opens as Golgo kills the son of a prominent Texas oil baron in California. Then he's off to Sicily
to track down a reclusive Mafia leader. After bedding the mobster's supposed daughter, he finds out that she is actually the target. He blows her and her phalanx of bodyguards away. Before long though the unflappable killer begins to lose his cool--someone, he discovers, is trying to kill him.
Through underground contacts Golgo learns that a coalition of Machiavellian proportions has been formed to do him in.
The CIA, FBI and other forces try to destroy him on various occasions but to no avail. Under the leadership of Leonard Dawson (Michael McConnohie), the oil tycoon whose son was a recent victim, these shadow groups are no match for the macho hit man. A master plan is concocted which will parlay the
talent of three of the world's most notorious killers, Snake, Silver and Gold, to end Golgo's life at last. As he awaits his attackers, Golgo manages to knock off an aging former Nazi and luxuriate in his penthouse apartment with several nude playmates. Dawson is so desperate to see Golgo dead
that he sacrifices his own daughter-in-law to the reptilian clutches of Snake.
The final confrontation takes place in Manhattan's Dawson Towers where Golgo fights the battle of a lifetime, finally prevailing over the three super killers--and he actually breaks a sweat. He confronts Dawson who discovers what Golgo knew all along: his son had felt he could never be the man his
father wished. Instead of attempting suicide, however, he arranged for his own murder. Learning the overpowering truth, Dawson leaps out of an office window to his death.
THE PROFESSIONAL is one animated feature parents won't want to bring the kids to. There is more violence and sex on display than in most live-action films. Stylistically, however, there has never been anything quite like it before, and that makes for a unique film experience.
The elaborate animation techniques and dark color palette give the project a look unto itself. The numerous animators working on this film offer a cornucopia of effects from two to three dimensional and then to seemingly simplistic comic-book flatness. It will be regarded as a breakthrough in
graphic technology, yet much of the innovativeness gets lost in the exploitative nature of gross violence and superfluous sex. The bloodshed is everywhere. Dezaki chooses to pay homage to the graphic novels of Takao Saito and fills the screen with gore. Heads explode, bullets slowly penetrate
craniums and streamers of blood float from wounds with abandon.
The sexual encounters, while initially interesting and gorgeously drawn, are much too graphic to be effective. It begins to resemble soft porn. The film's strength, though, lies in its aforementioned technical achievement and in its humor. The Golgo character is an obvious take on the omnipotence
and sexual power of James Bond. This man cannot be hurt. Even when his car blows up in a torrent of gunfire, Golgo walks away unscathed so that he may conquer another damsel in some exotic locale. It's surprising that this screenplay wasn't made into a live-action thriller instead of an animated
one. It has plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion.
There is room for a wide array of genres within animation, as this thriller clearly demonstrates. However, it need not be as overly violent as seen here. Ultimately it only weakens the uniqueness of the project. THE PROFESSIONAL is to be praised for its technical virtuosity and clarity, but the
decision where to draw the line was not nearly as well thought out. (Excessive violence, excessive nudity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: NR
- Review: This animated feature is definitely not for the LITTLE MERMAID crowd. Directed by Osamu Dezaki and Carl Macek, THE PROFESSIONAL is a dark and extremely violent story of murder for hire. Excessive violence, gratuitous bloodshed and a large dose of sex tend… (more)