Plot: The story is set in an alternate world which has taken a different history without WWII shock. 1949, Japan is still under imperial rule, aristocrats continue to thrive since the 19th Century and there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor.
A mysterious criminal K-20 (that's short for 'Kaijin Niju-Menso' - the Phantom Thief with 20 faces) with the power to change his appearance steals art and antiques from the rich with incredible ways like magician. Planing to commit a new theft K-20 tricks the police into thinking a circus acrobat named Heikichi Endo (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is the real criminal. Heikichi gets mistaken for K-20 and arrested. Realizing he's been set up, Heikichi manages to escape, but there's only one way to attest the innocence - capture the real K-20. Hekichi decides to fight against K-20 with young lady Yoko Hashiba, who is a next target of K-20, and her fiance and a detective, Kogoro Akechi.
The movie characters were originally created by famed crime writer Rampo Edogawa in serial novels with main character detective Kogoro Akechi, well known as the Japanese equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. The movie screenplay is based on a novel by writer So Kitamura, which departs heavily from Rampo’s prolific work, making Akechi a supporting character and setting the whole thing in an imaginary world where World War II never happened.
Ending theme was written and performed by famous band OASIS. The single is entitled as The Shock of the Lighting.
«For commercial entertainment, K-20 is quite agreeable, with likable characters, fun performances, and a positive, light tone that makes it decent family fare. Even if it doesn’t completely convince, for two hours of time the film pays the entertainment bill. K-20 may be hard to totally buy, but it’s ultimately quite easy to like. »
Twitch, James Marshsource:
«K-20 could prove to be a serious commercial hit internationally, with Kaneshiro as the stand-alone lead, as it mixes romance and adventure within a retro-futuristic environment that should help garner attention overseas.»
«The film tries to encompass everything, charismatic performance from Takeshi Kaneshiro, a cute turn from Takako Matsu, more cool badassness from Toru Nakamura, it has comedy, romance and some genuinely nice action scenes which opt mostly for semi-realistic parkour stunts instead of distractingly bad CGI. ... As the film aspires only to entertain audiences, and not to alter lives, I'll say that, for the most part, it succeeds. »
«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. Accompanied by an astounding score to sooth your ears, the production levels are almost flawless.»
«Never taking itself too seriously, the script allows the cast plenty of latitude. Matsu, especially, shows off the comedy chops she previously demonstrated in the Billy Wilder-like "Suite Dreams" (2006). In contrast, pan-Asian heartthrob Kaneshiro shows a handsome blandness that's more Michael Keaton's serious Bruce Wayne than Robert Downey Jr.'s charismatic Tony Stark.»
Twitch, by Ard Vijnsource:
«All in all “K-20” is almost great. It’s nice, it’s even pretty good in places, but like so many others it fails to be the classic you hope for after seeing the first few minutes.»
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