Assassin 'Golgo 13' Sets His Sights On the Big Screen

Somewhere, Jason Statham's agent just got a phone call.

By the way, the shot above is from one of several video game tie-ins Golgo 13 has received in the last couple of decades.

Takao Saito's Golgo 13, mysterious assassin for hire, is getting a film from the Franco-American outfit Davis Films (Crying Freeman, Silent Hill, Resident Evil). Based on their previous output, you can expect modest, but not low, budgets, internationally bankable b-movie stars and glancing fidelity to the source material. Here's how the press release describes the character:

Golgo 13, otherwise known as "Duke Togo," is a hired gun sniper with unbelievable combat skills, a cross between Dirty Harry and James Bond. He is a professional assassin with a strict personal code that makes him a modern day samurai. His world of contract killing is not unlike the complex world of espionage.

In spite of the 40-year publication history of Golgo 13 manga, the premise can be squeezed down enough to make it anything you want: he's an assassin with a murky past and no connections who always get his man.

Manga/anime-to-film adaptations come with the pitfalls that any sort of translation across medium does, but with the added jackpot that many of the big budget Japanese films they spawn often suffer from excess slavishness to the source material, admirably ambitious attempts at setpieces, and woefully inadequate budgets. For the most part, I've been unimpressed with the last couple of years' crop of adaptations, except in those cases like Casshern and the pair of Gantz films, both of which kept the broad strokes of the source material while the particulars were dramatically different enough to make the endeavor worth watching.

All of these points are, of course, moot, given that much of production company Davis Films' output has been English-language and it's likely that whatever form the movie takes, it'll be a Western production with English-speaking actors. I am curious about what, in particular, drew Davis Films to the material--name recognition can't be that great outside of Japan and it would have been easy enough to take the broad strokes (mysterious assassin assassinates mysteriously) and call it a day.

There's no date or talent attached, but we'll bring you more news as it develops.

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