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K-20 - K-20: Legend of the Mask or The Fiend with Twenty Faces Release date: 20.12.2008 Release country: Japan Production companies: ROBOT, Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV) and Toho Distiribution （東宝配給） Runtime: 137 min
Review author: mikomi Additional information supplied by: Ognyana
Director: Shimako Sato （佐藤嗣麻子） Based on the novel of So Kitamura "K-20" （北村想の小説『完全版 怪人二十面相・伝』） Script: Shimako Sato （佐藤嗣麻子） Producers: Toru Horikoshi（堀越徹）, Yoichi Shimada（島田洋一）, Shuji Abe（阿部秀司）, Yuji Shimamoto（島本雄二）, Osamu Kamei（亀井修）, Shinichiro Nishigaki（西垣慎一郎）, Noboru Otsuki（大月昇）, Tatsuo Shimamura（島村達雄）, Takano（高野力）
Music: Naoki Sato（佐藤直紀）
That is the world which knew no WWII and where everything has a different history. At the very beginning of the film you see unbelievable helicopters which somehow really do tell you that you are watching the alternative reality story. The story where Japanese aristocrats become more influent and the gap between poor and rich gets bigger (they own 90% of the capital). There are rumors about the mysterious thief people call K-20 – the phantom thief with twenty faces. And according to the plot – the main hero of the film - Endo Heikichi, the circus acrobat, played by Takeshi Kaneshiro – is mistakenly taken for K-20 and arrested by the famous detective who is chasing K-20, Akechi Kogoro played by Toru Nakamura. The rest of the story is to be watched.
Acting: As usual – every actor on the spot (interesting is the fact that some supporting roles are outstandingly memorable): Takeshi Kaneshiro – as Heikichi Endo
Truly wonderful acting. Amazing is the fact that he showed different emotions and there were so many of them during the film. The trouble is in the fact that sometimes it was hard to believe him because of the arms. It was so strange that his arms and fingers were clean all the time… even in the most terrible and dirty scenes, even after the parkour actions. The scene with the Indian where Takeshi was wearing a national Indian robe was so …… *the author is speechless* Takako Matsu – as Yoko Hashiba
The most amazing and funniest moment was when she was trying to stop Akechi on his way to his office. Beautiful actress and very good one. Toru Nakamura – as Kogoro Akeshi
It is good to speak of excellent acting – especially if you cannot find any reason to say something opposite. So much passion. Jun Kunimura – as Genji
Adorable teacher and friend. Wise man. The character is an actor and actor is a character. When it happens so – it is very hard to say if it was bad or good – it was the acting you would not dare to doubt. Kanata Hongô – as Yoshio Kobayashi
久しぶり だね。(hisashiburidesne) – it was rather long time ago when Takeshi Kaneshiro and Kanata Hongô were in one film together. He was so small then. Now Kanata is a young man and good-looking. Surely he brings a lot of charm to the film by his acting… though one time it was rather unnatural – when he was talking about the weapon abilities of the Tesla Machine. But if excluding this part – he was great. Yuki Imai – as Shinsuke
A boy-brother of Heikichi Endo. And a very good role. It is just a boy, but the character itself and the acting of Yuki makes the film attractive. Kazuyoshi Kushida – as prisoner
Only once in the shot. A very short speech. But he is remembered until even long time after watching the movie. Why? See it for yourself. Kyûsaku Shimada – as designer
He reminds of the Adam’s Family Lurch, but he is more talkative. And strangely scary. Though Yoko is not afraid of him and you would know why in the end.
Good about the movie:
The film is very easy to watch and it does not give you a lot of thoughts in the aftermath. Once it was told by Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock that "a good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it" surely – it is – you can watch the film and be sure you would like it even if you think that was too easy to watch. And he also said: "if it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on" – well, if the sound would go off in this one – we would surely understand everything, but the sound was still amazing. It was so good to watch the movie, to have fun and feel for characters. Even though the film is rather Hollywood type – it still is a wonderful unique Japanese film.
One more thing.
Thankfully to Ognyana we know that stunts were made by Russian Parkour team. You should see it. The stunts are pro and incredible.
Bad about the movie:
That is so. Alas the film has some strange flaws – like the helicopter capable to fly in the vertical position right and almost touching the skyscraper… Takeshi Kaneshiro jumping the walls so awesomely but not even a bit resembling to Takeshi (even despite the stunts actions – it was obvious those guys were not Takeshi and it was obvious that there were more than one guy doubling TK)…
Release dates: 8 November, 2008 - USA (American Film Market) and 23 January, 2009 – (Santa Barbara Film Festival) 20 December, 2008 – Japan 19 February, 2009 – Singapore 27 February, 2009 – Taiwan 19 March, 2009 – Hong Kong 9 April, 2009 – Malaysia 24 July, 2009 – Vietnam 20 October, 2009 – France 4 November, 2009 – Germany (Munich Asia Filmfest)
Additional information supplied by: Ognyana
Unfortunately, few people know that in “K-20: the Black Mask” Russian parkour wizards, Ruslan Dzhavadov and Oleg Krasnyansky substituted for the leading actors in action scenes and staged the parkour scenes with pursuits and coursing through the city. Ruslan Dzhavadov goes into different kinds of sports, and once won the title of Taekwon-do champion of Russia. Oleg Krasnyansky is one of the founders of the parkour movement in Russia, and is at present President of the Russian branch of the World Parkour Association.
The film was shot in Tokyo, on Kyushu and in Shanghai at the film studio famous for having been the stage for many popular films with Jackie Chan.