Thursday, May 13, 2010

K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces DVD Impression

K-20 Fiend with Twenty Faces DVD
I grew up watching Asian cinema on early Sunday mornings and it was a love that blossomed into how I feel about anime and manga now as an adult. Thanks to Viz Pictures I can now experience these feelings all over again and their latest release, K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces is everything I’ve loved and a bit more. What makes this live action adventure so great, let’s take a look …

In a Japan where World War II never happened the royal class system is still in place leading too rich nobles and poverty stricken lower class. The wealthy are not trouble free as they are targeted by the mysterious K-20, a phantom thief with 20 faces. K-20’s current target, the Tesla device created by the grandfather of Duchess Yoko Hashiba, brings circus performer Heikichi Endo into the fray. Framed by K-20 and targeted by detective Kogoro Akechi, Endo must clear his name and prove he is not K-20. The deeper Endo gets into his training to compete with K-20 the more he learns about deep plots that expand well beyond Japan. Will Endo clear his name and capture K-20? The clock is ticking as K-20’s ultimate plan nears execution.

The story in K-20 sets up nicely with some quick back-story and character introductions from K-20 to Endo. The overall plot is quite simple, guy framed by famous thief must clear his name and influences the nobles at the same time. I thought I could see through the plot but I was surprised by a few twist. The acting is quite good and while it’s pure cheese at times it’s done in a good way with awkward moments and funny interactions. K-20 himself is a very polarizing figure as he seems to be a Robin Hood but the opposite is true. Endo is closer to being the Robin Hood of this story and is quite a likeable character. The settings and effects reflect the timeframe perfectly and offer up a quality I never got as a child with incredible architecture in buildings and cool personal helicopters. The visuals are really cool but not too overdone, it’s just a fun movie to watch.

If Batman got together with Robin Hood and Jackie Chan in a World War II timeframe then the results would be K-20. K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces will take viewers back to a time in cinema long forgotten by the bottom-line studios of today and this is a good thing.

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