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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Batman & Takeshi !
K20-The Legend of The Black mask is a Live action Manga film. A cross between Batman, Zorro & Robin Hood,it stars Takeshi Kaneshiro (House Of Flying Daggers,Warlords & Red Cliff). Set in an alternate reality where Japan wasn't in World War 2.A masked bandit called K20(or the fiend with 20 faces)is robbing from the rich and frames a circus acrobat (Takeshi) With the help...
Published on 18 Mar. 2011 by Baywatchfalconer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars impressive film
there's a lot of this for an avid Japanese cinema enthusiast. Besides that it's a good action film with good action. If you're expecting the character on the front and the name of the film to be the hero, like I was, you'd be mistaken. Takeshi Kaneshiro- the protagonist- is in fact a different character, although may be not by the end of the film. Without giving too much...
Published on 26 April 2012 by solous


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Batman & Takeshi !, 18 Mar. 2011
K20-The Legend of The Black mask is a Live action Manga film. A cross between Batman, Zorro & Robin Hood,it stars Takeshi Kaneshiro (House Of Flying Daggers,Warlords & Red Cliff). Set in an alternate reality where Japan wasn't in World War 2.A masked bandit called K20(or the fiend with 20 faces)is robbing from the rich and frames a circus acrobat (Takeshi) With the help of his eldery friend who makes gadgets, he goes undercover to stop K20 and to give money to the poor.
Its quite a long movie,running at aprox 2 hours and 20 minutes and in Japanese with English Subtitles. Martial Arts fans could be disappionted as there's really no martial arts action in the movie. With a really good story,plenty of 'Free Ruinning',acrobatics and fab special effects K20 is a very enjoyable movie. The Blu-ray is stunning with crisp & colurful visuals,cystal clear HD sound and a fab in depth making of feature.Reccommended viewing,especially if you are a fan of action adventure movies and of course the gorgeous Takeshi Kaneshiro!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing action adventure with a touch of steampunk, 15 April 2011
By 
Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
It's Japan 1949. Because Japan struck a peace deal with the UK and USA there was no World War 2 and Japan is now a rigidly stratified society of have and have-nots. Its peace is only threatened by the master criminal, the Man of 20 (and probably a lot more) faces, K-20. Determined to steal a machine, invented by the Nobel prizewinning Nikolai Tesla, which broadcasts cheap power but he wants to use for destruction to make him the most important man in Japan, as part of his schemes he sets up our hero Heikichi Endo, a circus acrobat and illusionist, to be framed as K-20.

Phew!

I loved this film. Based on either novels or manga (I'm not sure which) which have been popular for some time in Japan, it's directed with a feminine sensibility by Ms Shimako Sato who also wrote the screenplay. What this means in that there's a lightness of touch, a hero who is compassionate (he helps feed locals orphans living rough) fallible good-humoured and masculine without being macho, there's an element of humour and understated romance. There is also plenty of action. When Endo is broken out of prison by local thieves, he is given a book on how to become a master thief. The various elements play to both his intelligence and skills and involve a lot of parkour (the French sport of leaping around buildings) and provides everything he needs to challenge K-20.

The other main players, apart from the masked K-20 and Endo, are Baron Kogoro Takechi the senior police officer in charge of the K-20 and his fiancee Duchess Yoko Hashiba who seems to have reservations about her impending marriage. When Endo rescues Yoko from the clutches of K-20, he takes her to his world, a place of deprivation that Yoko never knew existed and which immediately sparks her social conscience. So we have a three-hander, plus master villain K-20 always waiting in the wings to strike.

There's lots going on in this film which is always fascinating and holds the attention for its two-hour running time (note: not the 2hrs42 it says on the DVD case). The special effects are great, the action is wild, the acting is everything it should be. Don't let the fact that it's subtitled put you off. This is a great action movie with elements of science fiction, super-villainy, comedy, romance, social conscience. Apart from some minor swearing it's fine as family viewing albeit not for younger kids who wouldn't be able to follow the subtitles anyway. That caveat to one side: highly recommended. Trust me, you'll love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An almost entirely satisfying superhero film, 13 Aug. 2011
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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K20: The Legend of the Black Mask is that increasingly rare beast, an almost entirely satisfying superhero film - and an even rarer one that's written and directed by a woman, Sato Shimako. No relation to the Hong Kong Black Mask series, it's set in a 1949 Japan where WW2 never happened and the ruling military elite still vigorously enforces a rigid class system that leaves the poor to fend for themselves but is constantly plagued by master criminal K20, the Fiend with Twenty Faces. A cross between Arsene Lupin and The Shadow, he's no hero even if he does wear a cape. He may come from the underclass, but he wants to tear down the old order to create a new elite of his own and isn't too particular about who he hurts doing it.

Set against him are Toru Nakamura's aristocratic detective, Takaku Matsu's `modest girl from a nice family' (given a bit more moxey than the usual romantic lead in this kind of film) and Takeshi Kaneshiro as the none-too-bright circus performer set up to take the wrap for K20 so he can retire, only for his escape to force the master criminal to change his plans and the acrobat to learn K20's tricks so he can fight fire with fire to clear his name. This being a period piece the stakes are a hidden device created by Nikola Tesla that could be a source of great energy or a terrible destructive weapon, and its location can only be discovered by stealing a reproduction painting and breaking into a heavily guarded military installation to x-ray it which, along with a couple of enjoyable training sequences, provides the big setpieces.

The production design is pleasingly detailed, alternating grandiose art deco, grubby industrial landscapes and lived-in poverty, and the film takes the time to flesh out its characters a bit more than expected, ensuring the human element is never entirely overlooked. Most of the CGI effects are impressive enough for the few bad ones to stick out like a sore thumb, the action fun if not as frequent as you might expect in a film running 137-minutes. Only the final stunt is a bit of a letdown, but not enough to spoil the fun and the goodwill the film leaves in its wake. If it ultimately ends up being another origin story of sorts, it's an entertaining enough one and the characters are likeable enough for you to want to see them back on the screen again

Manga's Blu-ray offers a fine 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with optional English subtitles with a making of and cast and crew introductions from the film's premiere as extras.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I In joyed this, 2 April 2013
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This review is from: K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
Very good recommend this film to anyone who likes action and martial arts films or super hero films top marks from me
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By turns funny, bizarre and exciting.., 4 May 2013
By 
M. F. Khan (London) - See all my reviews
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K-20 grips you right from the off and then promptly wanders off for the first hour. Like a 2 year old wandering round the house it takes a while to make up its mind but an hour in the movie settles in nicely and the actual film begins. The problem is that K-20 immediately casts its hook for a certain audience but then abandons them. In film, the opening hook also telegraphs the kind of film it will be and the type of audience it's pitched at. Begin a film with, say, Freemasons in a ritual and you save a little legwork by setting the tone and explaining that you'll be going slow and explaining carefully. Begin a film referencing Tesla, and you need to assume that your audience will keep up with you and make connections a little faster than the crowd watching National Treasure.

What's frustrating is that K-20 has all the ingredients for a strong film, yet the director insists on making us sit through an hour of poorly written dialogue and embarrassingly transparent plot to get to what is arguably the better film within. In this respect K-20 joins a list of similarly well-meaning but poorly executed films such as The Shadow or The Punisher. Still it's a joy to watch, by turns funny, exciting and even touching and at the end entertains which is all you can ask for. The film is beautifully shot and has lavish art direction with some sets rivalling Lynch's Dune. The acting is good and the humour is subtle, easily a PG rated film for the family. The disc itself has few unremarkable extras but has a pleasing bitrate of around 24.on average

As a side note, if like me you recognise your film soundtracks, K-20 merrily steals from Back to the Future,s main title, the airship ticket sequence from the Last Crusade and the birthing sequence from Branagh's Frankenstein. I'm all in favour of referencing old films and paying homage to classics but at times you get a certain sense of schizophrenia watching this film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars it was cool, 3 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
For a masked avenger it was a weird film some of the story line could have been better, other than that it was good detective myystery surprise ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great steampunk, 17 May 2012
This review is from: K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
Very good take on an alternate history after the World War 2, which Japan and Germany won in this flick. Takeshi Kaneshiro is a circus acrobat wrongly accused of being a famous thief K20. He ran from the prison and tries to clean his name and discover the secret of the mysterious box and Bruegel the Elder painting The Tower of Babel. And also the secret of Tesla's new invention, which might destroy the whole world. Great actions scenes, endearing heroes, very believable alternate history.
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3.0 out of 5 stars impressive film, 26 April 2012
This review is from: K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
there's a lot of this for an avid Japanese cinema enthusiast. Besides that it's a good action film with good action. If you're expecting the character on the front and the name of the film to be the hero, like I was, you'd be mistaken. Takeshi Kaneshiro- the protagonist- is in fact a different character, although may be not by the end of the film. Without giving too much away of the story Kaneshiro is framed as the famed thief K20, this results in all those he holds dear. As a result Kaneshiro must train with a group of thieves and become strong enough to capture the real K20 and clear his name.

This is a good film, well directed with some interesting cinematography.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lol, 13 Jan. 2012
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Good free running stunts and some great martial arts. Looks stunning on blu ray, crystal clear and sharp picture. The acting was bad, some of it just made me laugh out loud. A different take on a manga/comic book movie which only the Japanese could only do. Worth a watch for a £5!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Manga Mayhem, 20 Nov. 2011
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A superb addition to the live action manga genre. Beautifully realised with plenty of action, super acting and a strong story. Give it a chance - you will love it.
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K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask [DVD]
K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask [DVD] by Shimako Sato (DVD - 2011)
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