This story is set during the Edo ages in Japan. On a rainy night, Kotono confronts the samurais who have killed her father. The samurai attack her one by one, but she manages to withstand ... See full summary »
Aka Kage, Aoi Kage and Asuka are trio of ninjas sent to perform dangerous secret missions for their master. Although Aka and Aoi are both in love with Asuka, the friendship built from their... See full summary »
Rina Takeda plays the role of a female ninja named Kisaragi who attempts to rescue a group of women being held captive to become toys for men. The film is set sometime in the Sengoku period... See full summary »
Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Raizo), a talented young ninja, becomes ensnared in a twisted scheme to assassinate Oda Nobunaga, an evil warlord bent on ruling feudal Japan with an iron fist. ... See full summary »
As the great military commander Nobunaga Oda was consolidating his power across Japan, one of his actions was to wipe out a clan of assassins, killing every man, woman and child he found in... See full summary »
This is a classic early Japanese Ninja movie. The Iga ninjas are a dying breed as Toyotomis rule allows Japan to experience some peace. Juzo, an Iga ninja who had vowed revenge for the ... See full synopsis »
Based on a Japanese folk legend that echoes the tale of Robin Hood, this ninja thriller follows the exploits of Goemon Ishikawa (Yôsuke Eguchi), who leaves his fighting clan after its chief... See full summary »
Young assassins Azumi and Nagara continue their mission to prevent a civil war. In their hunt for Masayuki Sanada, who is protected by both an army and a dangerous clan, they meet Ginkaku, ... See full summary »
In the near future, Japan is ruled once more by a monarchy. But, rebels opposed to this rule seek to overthrow the government. The House of Takemikazuchi, a band of assassins is hired by ... See full summary »
The names Akechi and Hashiba may have roots in the historic Azuchi-Momoyama period. Akechi was a general who betrayed his overlord, Oda Nobunaga, and tried to become shogun. Hashiba was a son of Oda who joined in the battle to punish Akechi. See more »
Japan has avoided World War Two. But nothing is said about the Sino-Japanese war. Began formally in 1937, but including earlier events like the occupation of Manchuria in 1932. See more »
There's no stopping Takeshi Kaneshiro in charming the socks off everyone, especially since new fans were won over by his heartfelt performance as the Grim Reaper in Accuracy of Death last year, and following that with his Zhuge Liang in Red Cliff. This year in Singapore, he marquees a big budgeted action-mystery masked vigilante movie, and while his powers and abilities to hark back to the Batmans and Spidermans, K-20 turned out to be rather entertaining for its liberal use of special effects, comedy and some fantastic action sequences, set against at alternate Japanese universe.
Which is interesting because other than the unmistakable Tower, Tokyo now known as Teito, is quite unrecognizable, and plaguing the country is a huge class and income divide between the aristocrats, and everyone else, which reads the Poor and have nots. It's set after WWII which never happened since Japan signed a peace treaty with the US and the UK, and hence what we have is some strangely futuristic backdrop, and some peculiar background on everyone being conditioned for pre-determined jobs and not having the ability to switch careers. Doesn't make a difference actually to the story, but gives you the feeling that everything is centrally planned.
While the title points to K-20, the fiend with 20 faces, the story's actually focused on Heikichi Endo (Kaneshiro) as a poor circus acrobat. And if Bat-fans would see some similarities here, I'd say his character's more like Dick Grayson and with putting his abilities to fighting crime, it's almost exactly how a Nightwing would behave. But back to Japan, Heikichi gets set up by K-20 himself, and gets framed into allowing everyone to believe he's actually the masked villain himself. Breaking out of prison thanks to a merry bunch of thieves whom he soon allies himself with, Heikichi makes it his quest to flush out K-20 and to clear his name, with the help of a nifty grappling hook and rope device.
Not being sexist here, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that K-20 is directed by a female - Shimako Sato, who also adapted the screenplay from a novel by So Kitamura. It's a fresh perspective having to watch an action movie directed by a female at the helm, and the focus here was of course on the characters. We have Takako Matsu as the Duchess Yoko Hashiba, who isn't your standard fare damsel-in-distress, and Toru Nakamura as the police inspector Akechi Kogoro, the arch-enemy of and resident expert on K-20.
It's a classic action mystery which like The Prestige has Russian scientist Teslar providing the object of tussle, a device capable of harnessing and transmitting vast electrical power across locations without the use of cables. K-20 wants it to rule the world, and it's up to our heroes to crack the mystery as to where the device is, and to stop the villain from achieving his goal. The plot's fairly simple, which includes an origin story for Heikichi including the antics of a hero in training, but what made it palatable was the excellent delivery by the cast, together with gorgeous sets and edge-of-your-seat action. A key element here too is the identity of K-20, having nobody actually seen the villain in the flesh except for Heikichi himself.
The story however does sag a little when it lingers on the more dramatic moments, and you'd know for sure when Kaneshiro gets replaced by stuntmen for most of the action shots not on closeup. But as far as big-budgeted movies like these go, K-20: Legend of the Mask still came across as pretty entertaining and all primed for sequels and a franchise should the box office prove to be successful.
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