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  • K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces
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K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces


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K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces + Returner + Sleepless Town
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Product Details

  • Actors: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Toru Nakamura, Takako Matsu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Viz Pictures, Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0036BDQ2Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,027 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Based on the novel by Soh Kitamura, the character of The Fiend with Twenty Faces is known to all of Japan and is the central figure in this thrilling story. The cast includes some of the most recognized names including Takeshi Kaneshiro, an actor consistently cast in the biggest films across Asia, and Takako Matsu, one of Japan’s most sophisticated and respected actresses. The acclaimed writer-director Shimako Sato and the incredible “retro futuristic” visuals make this film an action spectacular not to be missed. It is 1949 in Japan, in a world where World War II never happened and the nobility system established in the Meiji Era is still in place. An extreme divide exists between the upper and lower classes, with 90 percent of the country’s wealth being held by the upper class. The capital of Teito is in crisis with the emergence of a phantom thief known as "The Fiend (Kaijin) with Twenty Faces" or simply "K-20." Heikichi Endo (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is a circus acrobat who is deceived by K-20 and is set up to take the fall for the phantom thief. Using his incredible physical dexterity, Heikichi wages war against K-20 in order to clear his name, fighting alongside K-20's next wealthy target, Duchess Yoko Hashiba (Takako Matsu), and her fiancée, brilliant detective Kogoro Akechi (Toru Nakamura). But what is the ultimate decision Heikichi has to make?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
What a great film, it was a lot of fun.
Modmyth
I saw it at the San Diego Asian Film Festival last year and was delighted to be able to buy it on dvd.
Christina Larkin
In an alternate vision of the world circa 1949, Germany and the US never went to war.
E. Lee Zimmerman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Scheppler on April 21, 2010
Takeshi Kaneshiro, who has sometimes been referred to as the Asian Johnny Depp, is an actor who can play just about any role to which he commits. And he commits to the role of Heikichi Endo 100%. Set in an alternative Tokyo, one where WWII never happened, Heikichi Endo lives for the circus. A talented acrobat and showman, he's poor but happy entertaining the common folk. His life changes forever when he's approached by a mysterious man who asks him to use his ability to take pictures of society heiress Yoko Hashiba's engagement ceremony to popular police detective Kogoro Akechi. What Endo doesn't realize until it's too late is that he's been set up to be mistaken for K-20, the Fiend with 20 Faces, a masked thief whom Akechi has been trying to catch for years. To clear his name, Endo quickly realizes that he needs to become a thief to catch a thief. A very entertaining movie ensues. Kaneshiro is a fine comedic actor and he's well matched in his scenes opposite Takako Matsu, who calls to mind a Japanese Lucille Ball. She's dizzy and delightful. The final showdown between Endo and K-20 is exhilarating, but no more so than Endo's training run scenes. Director Sato Shimako employs parkour as the means by which Endo moves through Tokyo looking to confront his enemy. It works. For fans of Kaneshiro's work, it's as apt to refer to Johnny Depp as the American Takeshi Kaneshiro. Don't miss this movie. It's a ton of fun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 10, 2010
Niju Menso, the Fiend with Twenty Faces, is one of the classic villains of Japanese literature. Created in 1936 by mystery author Edogawa Rampo (Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination), Niju Menso played Professor Moriarty to Rampo's Sherlock Holmes archetype, consulting detective Kogoro Akechi. The two characters are as well known in Japan as Holmes and Moriarty are in the West. Since his creation, like many great villains Niju Menso took on a life of his own has gone on to appear in several manga and anime series, as well as two novels by So Kitamura.

This 2008 film versions is adapted from the two So Kitamura novels, which takes a decided spin on the original detective Kogoro Akechi/Niju Menso dynamic. So's novels were revisionist to say the least, and this version of the Niju Menso story has as much in common with the original as Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes does with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original tales. However, since Rampo's Kogoro Akechi stories have never been translated into English, most viewers will be unaware of the shocking twist of So's novels.

But enough with the history lesson. As a straight film, "K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces" is one of the best Japanese superhero films I have ever seen. Too many Japanese films are marred by somewhat amateur CG, but the lessons have been learned and "K-20" mixes a great story with very satisfactory effects. Not quite a straight action movie, there are still some spectacular moves and fights mixed in with the intrigue.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christina Larkin on November 21, 2010
Verified Purchase
I love this movie. I saw it at the San Diego Asian Film Festival last year and was delighted to be able to buy it on dvd. It does borrow from lots of other sci-fi action movies(as did the earlier RETURNER, which I also love, and also has Takeshi Kaneshiro as the hero)(OK, I am a fan of Takeshi Kaneshiro, or Kaneshiro Takeshi as he's listed in some movies, but whats not to like? He's really cute and does a good job in this genre) This alternate universe adventure is good escapist fun.
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In 2008, director Shimako Sato, known for his films such as the "Eko Eko Azaraku" films and his work for various video games such as "Resident Evil: Code Veronica" and "Onimusha Tactics" (and moreso for his upcoming screenplay for "Space Battleship Yamato) began working on "K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces", an adaptation of the novel "K-20: Kaijin nijû mensô den" by So Kitamura.

A film that appears to be inspired by "Batman", "Superman" and "Zorro", "K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces" is an action-based Japanese film starring talents such as Asian film superstars Takeshi Kaneshiro ("Red Cliff" films, "House of Flying Daggers", "Chungking Express", "Fallen Angels"), Toru Nakamura ("Tokyo Raiders", "Hana", "Gen-X Cops", "Umizaru") and actress/pop star Takako Matsu ("Long Vacation", "Love Generation", "Hero").

VIDEO:

"K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces" is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen. The film definitely seems inspired by Batman, Zorro and Superman in some ways. Moreso like Batman and trying to capture this dark and brooding land at night. But what I like about this film is the look of Japan and its aristocrat style. Because this alternative universe of Japan is different and a country in which the aristocrats are the wealthy, to see the buildings designed in a certain manner, especially its airplanes are quite intriguing. The Japanese in this film are very keen to the inventions of American and European inventors and obviously having its impact on Japanese fashion and aesthetics.

Some parts of the film may seem a bit dark and black but I believe that was the director's intention. As Batman is working during the night and within the shadows, the same is being done for this film as K-20 is a man of the night.
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