HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
   
 
Newest Articles
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
   
 
  K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces The Man In The Mask
Year: 2008
Director: Shimako Sato
Stars: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Takako Matsu, Tôru Nakamura, Jun Kunimura, Reiko Takashima, Tôru Masuoka, Yuki Imai, Kanata Hongô, Takeshi Kaga, Ryôhei Abe, Jun Kaname, Hana Kino, Fumiyo Kohinata, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Yutaka Matsushige
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1949 in Japan, but not as we knew it, for this is an alternate universe where the nation never entered World War II and thus were able to prosper sooner. But this came at a price, for the society became even more divided, as the rich grew richer and the poor grew poorer, with no middle ground and no possibility of those on the lowest rung of the ladder to climb their way out of the hole they had found themselves in as the law stated there was no way any citizen could change jobs, they had to stick with the hand life had dealt them. However, there was one person who fighting back against this injustice, the masked vigilante known only as K-20 because of his twenty disguises – if only he had been one of the good guys.

As if to show Hollywood that Japan could get up to just as much superhero malarkey as they could, there were a number of goodnatured ripostes to the blockbusters and would-be blockbusters out of the West in that fantastical vein, and K-20 was one of those, as with the larger degree of them an origin tale of how their lead character came to be. But the twist was that we join him when he’s turning the screws on a corrupt society purely for selfish reasons, though we don’t discover the entire extent of those until the end (where he seems to have a grudge against Tinseltown, one perhaps shared with the moviemakers). That left a void for our actual hero to fill, and he turned out to be the thoroughly decent Takeshi Kaneshiro.

Or rather, the thoroughly decent character Kaneshiro was playing, a circus performer by the name of Heikicho Endo who is very good at his job, a mix of acrobatics and magic tricks, but longs for something better for him and his colleagues that the nation’s hierarchy refuses to accommodate. That’s when a journalist approaches him and invites him to take a few photos for his story; he will be paid handsomely and the only snag is that he has to snap the pics from the top of a building, capturing the social event of the year as the famous detective Kogoro Akechi (Tôru Nakamura) is getting married to a princess, Yoko (Takako Matsu). Sounds simple enough, physical exertion apart, and Heikicho needs the money so up he goes, balancing on the glass dome that crowns the structure.

Alas, a bigger snag than that arises when K-20 stages one of his stunts, all to get his hands on Tesla equipment of the sort we saw him steal at the beginning of the movie, and our protagonist gets the blame, the cuffs slapped on and straight into custody with nobody believing his protests of innocence. One thing leads to another and after getting beaten up, which happens to him with alarming regularity after a fashion, he is rescued by some poor folks led by Genji (Jun Kunimura), an ageing rebel who chuckles his way through any explanations. Now you’ll be thinking you were in for a tract about poor versus rich, with poor coming out the preference, but writer and director Shimako Sato was seeking a more balanced, compromising message for her tale, though crucially that didn’t mean compromised.

It was more finding the middle ground between the classes that appealed, with wholesome, apple-cheeked Yoko meeting up with Heikicho, or rather being strongarmed into a relationship of sorts that allows her to see how the struggling citizens live, including a small army of orphans for reasons of pathos. Luckily for us this doesn’t get too sentimental as this was an action movie no matter its social conscience, and that meant a combination of free running stunts and the kind of activity Batman gets up to around Gotham City, swinging from rooftops with aplomb (after a spot of taking tumbles, making the character look like Sato’s punching bag at times). Really this was a breezy, expensive adventure that was bright where it counted, but didn’t neglect the more serious aspects of its themes without allowing it to turn into a stern lecture. It led up to a fairly spectacular setpiece finale that in spite of its guessable twists made for a winning diversion, and looked to a sequel that never came. Full on orchestral score by Naoki Satô.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1090 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: