K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces

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  • Movie: K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces / K-20: Legend of the Mask
  • Romaji: K-20: Kaijin niju menso den
  • Japanese: K-20 怪人二十面相・伝
  • Director: Shimako Sato
  • Writer: So Kitamura (Novel), Shimako Sato
  • Producer: Shuji Abe, Seiji Okuda
  • Cinematography:
  • Release Date: December 20, 2008
  • Runtime: 137 min.
  • Genre: Action / Adventure / Mystery
  • Movie Studio: Toho, NTV
  • Distributor: Toho
  • Language: Japanese
  • Country: Japan

Plot

Story takes place in the 1940’s, in a fictional Japan, where the country is dominated by the upper class and the country suffers from a huge income disparity between the rich and poor. During this time, an evil masked villain named “K-20” roams around Japan stealing priceless artifacts. Always on the trail of K-20 is his arch nemesis Akechi (Toru Nakamura) – a suave detective. When Akechi announces his engagement to the rich heiress Yoko Hashiba (Takako Matsu), K-20 warns Akechi to call off the wedding or he’ll be there to make his biggest heist yet.

Meanwhile a good natured circus performer named Keikichi Endo (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is hired by a mysterious figure to snap photos of Akechi and Yoko’s wedding. Keikichi is unaware that his employer is in fact the evil K-20 and he’s being set up to be his fall guy …

Notes

  1. Based on Edogawa Rampo's "Kogoro Akechi" detective novels, but re-written by Shimako Sato. Time setting has shifted from the early 1900's to 1949, while the primary location has changed from Tokyo to the fictional city of Teito.
  2. Related titles:
    1. Kogoro Akechi vs. The Fiend with Twenty Faces | Akechi Kogoro Tai Kaijin Niju Menso (TBS / 2002)

Cast

K-20- The Fiend With Twenty Faces-Takeshi Kaneshiro .jpg K-20- The Fiend With Twenty Faces-Takako Matsu.jpg K-20- The Fiend With Twenty Faces-Toru Nakamura.jpg K-20- The Fiend With Twenty Faces-Kanata Hongo.jpg
Takeshi Kaneshiro Takako Matsu Toru Nakamura Kanata Hongo
Heikichi Endo Yoko Hashiba Kogoro Akechi Yoshio Kobayashi

Additional Cast Members:

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Random omg looks kinda corny...nevertheless, it's TAKESHI!

Ki I’ve had “K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces” (known in Japan as “K-20: The Legend of the Mask”) on my pile of to watch movies for awhile now but for one reason or another never gotten around to watching it. Although the movie isn’t based on a comic (the story is a re-write of the “Kogoro Akechi” detective series by Edogawa Rampo) the story has all the hallmarks of the now familiar manga turned into movie plague. Furthermore, “K-20” seems to be a big budget Japanese action film and how many of these have you seen that were actually good? I can’t think of many to be honest. Lastly, the movie is written and directed by Shimako Sato who most recently wrote the screenplay for the god awful film “Unfair: The Movie”. With all that said, just leave all of your preconceived notions at the door and check out “K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces.” The movie is an unfettered blast of fun that will leave you wanting more.

“K-20: the Fiend With Twenty Faces” has a little bit of everything – most of which is done surprisingly well. The setting is entirely fictional (even the local is set in the fictional city of Teito), but you can’t help to think “Always: Sunset on Third Street” meet’s Batman’s Gotham City when viewing the backdrop of “K-20.” The action is always crisp, sometimes bringing to mind the high-wire acts of “Spider Man,” with plenty moments of excitement. Even more important, the characters – especially the ones played by Takeshi Kaneshiro and Takako Matsu – make the movie something far more worthwhile than your typical manga turned into movie cruft. Kaneshiro with his good natured charms excels in displaying all the vulnerabilities of the unwitting “super hero”, while Takako Matsu brings just heaps of lovable charm to her character (the scene where Takako Matsu attempts to seduce Toru Nakamura is just riot!).

The screenplay, especially for its genre, is surprisingly well conceived and turns out a handful of genuine surprises. Sure there’s a few moments where things don’t jive as it should (the most prominent being when Keikichi is supposed to be in hiding, but goes out everyday to sprint through the city like a mad man). This small gaffe is forgivable when considering the amount of well crafted twists and turns that awaits the viewer.

As you can tell by now I thoroughly enjoyed “K-20: The Man With Twenty Faces” and even more so because I expected the worst. Takeshi Kaneshiro rebounds from his spotty performance in “Red Cliff” to once again bring his distinct charisma to the screen and Takako Matsu steals this reviewers heart with her undeniable charm. Yes, I loved “K-20: The Man With Twenty Faces” and I think you will too. Bring on the sequel!

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