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Genre: Action/Adventure
Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Takako Matsu, Toru Nakamura, Jun Kunimura, Reiko Takashima, Kanata Hongo, Yuki Imai, Takeshi Kaga
Director: Shimako Sato
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2008



- Trailer
- Photo Gallery




Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 2 hrs 17 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: InnoF
orm Media




In the fictional capital "Teito" where the aristocrats continue to thrive since the 19th Century, there are rumours about a mysterious thief, who only steals from the rich and aids the poor. People call him K-20, (The Phantom Thief with 20 faces). Heikichi, a circus acrobat was conned and mistaken as K-20 and subsequently arrested by Akechi Kogoro, a famous detective who once arrested K-20 himself. In the midst of clearing his name, Heikichi rescued Yoko Hashiba, the Duchess, Detective Akechi’s betrothed fiancée. In the non-stop battle with K-20, the true identity of the thief may finally be revealed!


After his brief stint as the Grim Reaper in Accuracy of Death and the wise advisor Zhuge Liang in the Red Cliff series, Takeshi Kaneshiro is back in his adopted hometown for K-20: Legend of the Mask.

Based on a novel by So Kitamura, K-20 is set in a fictional city called Teito in Tokyo where World War II has never happened and the citizens of Japan have been divided into the upper class and lower class. The rich strive and prosper while the poor has to contend with poverty and hunger. It is then widely believed by the locals that a phantom thief nicknamed K-20 (in short for the number of times he can changed his face) prowl the city to steal from the rich and distribute to the poor.

Just when you thought K-20 is just an Asian rehashed of Robin Hood or Mask of Zorro, the script by director and writer Shimako Sato tries to be a little smarter than the aforementioned, a little complicated and a little humorous. Asia’s favourite Japanese/Chinese heritage movie star Takeshi Kaneshiro plays Heikichi Endo, a small-time but talented circus acrobat who is tricked by the real K-20 to be the scapegoat. That’s where things get a bit complicated as to who the real culprit is and gets funnier when an aristocrat princess Yoko (Matsu Takako from Hero) joins hands with Heikichi to uncover the truth. And why it’s smarter because the plot involved something bigger than the typical small-time theft.

The biggest problem with K-20 is the immensely leisure pacing, that is for a crime thriller. There isn’t much excitement for the entire 137 minutes running time to speak of or populated with much suspicious lurking characters where viewers can play detective. In other words, the script fails to be effectively engaging. Any season movie-goers can spot who the 'real' K-20 is within minutes. Once the prologue and characters are setup, the script throws in a couple of giggling bits and spends a great deal of time on Heikichi with his sidekick who specializes in gadgets and his newfound romance, Yoko.

The lackluster script aside, K-20 actually boasts a decent array of visual effects, lush set designs and on location shooting at the popular Shanghai streets backlot (make popular by Perhaps Love and Lust Caution). Accompanied by an astounding score to sooth your ears, the production levels are almost flawless.

Fans of Takeshi Kaneshiro will not be disappointed as the suave star dominates the screen easily with his charismatic screen presence. With his floppy wind-swaying long hair, fans will no doubt be mesmerized. Veteran actress Matsu Takako is reduced to a fleeting love interest while Toru Nakamura (2009: Lost Memories) is unfortunately sidelined given his role has by far the most potential to develop further.

But then when you have Takeshi Kaneshiro as the acrobatically inclined masked hero, nothing could overshadow his star power. K-20 is strictly a tailor-made star vehicle for Takeshi, powered and run on his charisma and good looks.


This Code 3 DVD comes only with the movie trailer and a photo gallery.


The DVD comes with only a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack which dampens the viewing pleasure a little though the visual is of utmost clarity.



Review by Linus Tee

Posted on 7 July 2009



. K-20 (Movie Review)

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This review is made possible with the kind support from InnoForm Media


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