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K-20: Legend of the Mask (DVD) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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K-20: Legend of the Mask (DVD) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Takeshi Kaneshiro stars as an accidental caped crusader in the delightful fantasy action-adventure K-20! Based on a Kitamura So novel which is itself based on characters created by legendary writer Edogawa Rampo, K-20: Legend of the Mask gives a fanciful spin on the storied rivalry between master detective Akechi Kogoro and phantom thief "The Fiend with 20 Faces", or K-20. Co-starring Nakamura Toru (Shaolin Girl) as Detective Akechi plus top actress Matsu Takako (Hero) and rising star Hongo Kanata (The Blue Bird), K-20 offers a fun time at the movies full of quirky characters, rooftop escapades, mind-twisting mysteries, and good old swashbuckling action.

Directed by Sato Shimako (Wizard of Darkness), K-20: Legend of the Mask is set in an alternate 1949 Japan still under imperial rule, and rife with class conflict. In these chaotic times, K-20, a masked thief who steals from the rich, is both villain and hero, and a perpetual thorn in the side for crime-busting detective Akechi (Nakamura Toru) and his assistant Kobayashi (Hongo Kanata). With the city of Teitu buzzing over Akechi's engagement with duchess Yoko (Matsu Takako), poor circus acrobat Heikichi (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is hired to take photos at their engagement, but he gets mistaken for K-20 and arrested. Realizing he's been set up, Heikichi manages to escape, but there's only one way to clear his name: to capture the real K-20.

Deluxe Edition comes with a 64-page thief training booklet, a bookmark, and a Fiend of 20 Faces replica warning letter, plus making of, trailer, and other extras.

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Technical Information

Product Title: K-20: Legend of the Mask (DVD) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) K-20: 怪人二十面相傳 (DVD) (豪華版) (日本版) K-20: 怪人二十面相传 (DVD) (豪华版) (日本版) K-20 怪人二十面相・伝(豪華版) K-20: Legend of the Mask (DVD) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version)
Also known as: K-20 Kaijin Nijuu Mensou Den K-20 Kaijin Nijuu Mensou Den K-20 Kaijin Nijuu Mensou Den K-20 Kaijin Nijuu Mensou Den K-20 Kaijin Nijuu Mensou Den
Artist Name(s): Kaneshiro Takeshi | Matsu Takako | Nakamura Toru | Kunimura Jun | Takashima Reiko | Hongo Kanata | Imai Yuki | Kino Hana | Masuoka Toru | Kaname Jun | Kaga Takeshi | Kushida Kazuyoshi | Kohinata Fumiyo | Matsushige Yutaka | Shimada Kyusaku | Otaki Hideji 金城 武 | 松隆子 | 仲村亨 | 國村準 | 高島禮子 | 本鄉奏多 | 今井悠貴 | 木野 花 | 益岡徹 | 要潤 | 鹿賀丈史 | 串田和美 | 小日向文世 | 松重豐 | 嶋田久作 | 大瀧秀治 金城 武 | 松隆子 | 仲村亨 | 国村准 | 高岛礼子 | 本乡奏多 | 今井悠贵 | 木野花 | Masuoka Toru | 要润 | 鹿贺丈史 | 串田和美 | 小日向文世 | 松重庆 | 嶋田久作 | 大泷秀治 金城武 | 松たか子 | 仲村トオル | 國村隼 | 高島礼子 | 本郷奏多 | 今井悠貴 | 木野花 | 益岡徹 | 要潤 | 鹿賀丈史 | 齋藤歩 | 串田和美 | 小日向文世 | 松重豊 | 嶋田久作 | 大滝秀治 금성무 | 마츠 타카코 | 나카무라 토오루 | Kunimura Jun | Takashima Reiko | Hongo Kanata | Imai Yuki | Kino Hana | Masuoka Toru | Kaname Jun | Kaga Takeshi | Kushida Kazuyoshi | Kohinata Fumiyo | Matsushige Yutaka | Shimada Kyusaku | Otaki Hideji
Director: Sato Shimako 佐藤嗣麻子  佐藤嗣麻子  佐藤嗣麻子 Sato Shimako
Release Date: 2009-06-24
Publisher Product Code: VPBT-13353
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: Japanese
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: VAP
Other Information: 2DVDs
Shipment Unit: 2 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1019757633

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "K-20: Legend of the Mask (DVD) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version)"

June 22, 2009

This professional review refers to K-20 (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Takeshi Kaneshiro is a star, no doubt about that. There are few actors that could take a preposterous, slight action-adventure like K-20: Legend of the Mask and make it so watchable, and Kaneshiro is one of them. Directed and written by Shimako Sato, K-20 takes place in 1949 in an alternate Japan where World War II never happened. Japan has continued beneath Imperial Japanese rule, with the upper and lower classes strictly separated, and tension existing between the haves and have-nots. Springing from the bubbling unrest is K-20 a.k.a. Kaijin Niju Menso or "The Fiend with 20 Faces", a cloaked thief who steals from the rich ostensibly to benefit the poor.

Opposing K-20 is Kogoro Akechi (Toru Nakamura), a renowned detective who solves crimes with the help of his teenage assistant Kobayashi (Kanata Hongo). Akechi is due to marry Duchess Yoko Hashiba (Takako Matsu), with their engagement being all the media rage. Amidst this, naive lower-class circus acrobat Heikichi Endo (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is asked to snap photos of Akechi and Yoko's engagement, with a large financial reward as compensation. Heikichi needs the money to pay for the circus ringmaster's (Fumiyo Kohinata) medical bills, so he agrees, but Heikichi is mistaken for K-20 at the scene and arrested. Realizing that he's been framed by the real K-20, Heikichi manages to escape with the help of thief and inventor Genji the Gimmick (Jun Kunimura). Heikichi is now a wanted man, and decides to find and do battle with K-20 in order to clear his name.

But how will Heikichi find K-20? Simple, he'll accidentally spot him on the rooftops when he's in the midst of his training. K-20's plot moves with utter convenience, sometimes stopping for static exposition before moving into action sequences set against CG-generated views of the Teito (a.k.a. Tokyo ) cityscape. The film takes flight during the scenes of Heikichi's training; he runs and jumps through the city using entertaining Parkour moves, with the filmmakers doing a decent job of switching between Takeshi Kaneshiro and his obviously more athletic stunt double. The film finds its footing there, managing a fun if ridiculous vibe that recalls a swashbuckling adventure or a live-action approximation of early Hayao Miyazaki. The steampunk trappings and cartoonish acting add to the live-action anime flavor.

A lot here is preposterous; people take far more punishment than they should, the humor is sometimes flat in its delivery, and the ultimate plot - the search for an electricity-controlling device created by famed inventor Nikola Tesla - is more convoluted than it needs to be. Director Sato hits a few bumps with her storyline, and the film grinds to a halt whenever anyone discusses anything serious. However, with an actor like Kaneshiro in the lead, suspension of disbelief is quite easy. Kaneshiro has star presence to spare, and is naturally charming and convincing as characters that could exist only in the movies. Kaneshiro effortlessly earns sympathy as the dopey and even clueless Heikichi, and when he's zipping across the Teito skyline like Spider-Man or Batman (Heikichi uses a nifty spring-loaded grappling gun), managing a smile is easy despite the ridiculousness of it all. This isn't really a superhero film - it's a live-action fantasy.

K-20 is based on the work of legendary mystery writer Edogawa Rampo, and The Fiend with 20 Faces was originally an arch-nemesis of master detective Kogoro Akechi, popularly known as the Japanese equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. Sato's screenplay (based on a novel by So Kitamura) departs heavily from Rampo's prolific work, making Akechi a supporting character and setting the whole thing in an imaginary world where World War II never happened. There's minor commentary here about class division, with Takako Matsu's spunky class-bridging heroine spouting corny, if well-meaning dialogue. The sentimentality in K-20 is of your standard commercial type, which means it's expected and completely unchallenging. However, the emotions ultimately prove quite tolerable, and at least reference familiar, universal concepts and not audience-polarizing nationalism.

The downside is that cynical audiences could have a field day with K-20. In this brave new cinema world of dark, complex superhero films, K-20 is as airy as a soap bubble, and as fragile too. Bursting K-20's bubble would be easy - the film has plot holes larger than Tokyo Tower and a convenient, largely illogical storyline. At the same time, playing the curmudgeon could also be quite cruel. For commercial entertainment, K-20 is quite agreeable, with likable characters, fun performances, and a positive, light tone that makes it decent family fare. Japanese films can often overcome cynical moviegoing expectations thanks to unflinching, wide-eyed optimism and characters who are exceptionally winning. Even if it doesn't completely convince, for two hours of time the film pays the entertainment bill. K-20 may be hard to totally buy, but it's ultimately quite easy to like.

by Kozo - LoveHKFilm.com

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This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "K-20: Legend of the Mask (DVD) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


July 30, 2009

This customer review refers to K-20 (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Sheer eye-popping entertainment Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
"K-20" is pleasing, Saturday afternoon popcorn fare, fun for the whole family. Takeshi Kaneshiro stars as Endo Heikichi, an acrobatic illusionist working in a circus in an alternate 1949 Japan, a Japan in which World War II never happened and Japan's imperial order persisted, leading to a sharp divide between a fascistic overclass and an impoverished underclass. A mystery man hires Heikichi to take photos of the wedding of Baron Akechi Kogoro (Nakamura Toru) and Duchess Hashiba Yoko (Matsu Takako). Heikichi takes the job to earn money for his ringmaster's medical care. However, the camera that the mystery man gave Heikichi triggers explosions that interrupt the wedding. Heikichi swiftly is arrested by master detective Akechi.

Akechi accuses Heikichi of being K-20, the notorious Fiend of Many Faces. Heikichi realizes that the photography job had been a trap; the real K-20 had set Heikichi up so he would be identified as K-20. After Heikichi escapes from the police, he throws in with petty thieves to learn the art of disguises and employ the skills of a thief in tracking down the real K-20. The scenes of Heikichi's training are thrilling, as he leaps from building to building, learning to overcome all physical obstacles. During the course of his training, Heikichi stumbles upon the real K-20 attempting to kidnap Duchess Yoko. K-20 believes that Yoko can lead him to a machine created by the inventor Tesla to harness massive amounts of energy, a machine that can be used for good or for devastating destruction.

"K-20" delivers delirious action sequences amidst Akechi's attempts to recapture Heikichi, Heikichi's efforts to track down K-20, and K-20's schemes to acquire the Tesla machine. Subsidiary themes explore Yoko's exposure to an underworld she didn't know existed and a growing romance between Heikichi and Yoko. Matsu Takako plays her role with wide-eyed wonder, Nakamura Toru oozes stylish menace, and Kaneshiro steals the show with his noble charm. The story effectively conceals a surprising plot twist that yields a gripping finish. And the movie ends in a fashion that, I suspect, will set up a series of sequels. For sheer eye-popping entertainment, "K-20" is hard to beat.
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