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K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask

K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask“Comic book heroes don’t come
  more unusual than the daring
  acrobat fighting injustice in the
  fantastic action adventure from
  Manga Entertainment, K-20: The
  Legend Of The Black Mask

ADAPTED FROM SO KITAMURA'S NOVEL by Writer-Director Shimako Sato (Tale Of A Vampire), K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask begins in 1949 in a fictional Japanese city called Teito, the Imperial Capital, and in this alternative history the Second World War has been successfully avoided.

It is a time that has its roots in the 19th Century; and the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. A change of occupation is forbidden and the people can only marry within their own class. Into this strange world comes a mysterious masked phantom known as K-20, or 'The Fiend With Twenty Faces', who robs from the rich to give to himself.

Russian inventor Nikola Tesla has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work on wireless energy transmission. He has discovered a way to transmit energy to any part of the globe and, using his technology, a newly-developed energy beam generator has been built. As it is being demonstrated K-20, intent on world domination, deftly spirits away the device, leaving behind one of his many masks.

With the energy beam generator, K-20 is set to rule the world and is about to demonstrate just how far he will go to do so. But he needs a fall guy. He does not have to look far. When poor circus performer Hekichi Endo (Takeshi Kanashiro: Red Cliff; The Warlords; House Of Flying Daggers) is approached by Kozo Tonomura of True Tales Magazine to use his acrobatic skills to take photographs in return for a generous payment, Endo finds himself covering the rehearsal of the high society marriage between heiress Yoko Hashiba (Takako Matsu: Confessions) and Chief of Police Kogoro Akechi (Tru Nakamura: Tokyo Raiders; Gen-X Cops). But he has been set up.

Framed for the villainous K-20's previous crimes, Endo is arrested and sentenced to death. But he manages to escape and goes on the run, helped by old friends gadget-maker Genji (Jun Kunimura) and young Shinsuke (Yuki Imai).

Aided by a surprising ally, the only way for Endo to prove his innocence and to clear his name is to assume the identity of K-20 and play the villain at his own game by finding the energy generator before the Police, foiling the Fiend's dastardly plan and discovering a secret hidden at the Hashiba Company Headquarters by solving a clue involving a copy of a painting called The Tower Of Babel. And to unmask the original K-20.

This superbly-paced, fantastic fantasy twists and turns, showing poverty at its extreme alongside privileged wealth; with orphaned children starving in tiny shanty shacks while the rich prosper. Entertaining, exciting and funny with superb action sequences, K20: The Legend Of The Black Mask is absolutely terrific and will be high on your list of must-watch movies.

Subtitles are easy to read and do not detract from the action and this terrific movie has been compared favourably to such creditable period crime-fighter movies as The Shadow, The Rocketeer and The Phantom and stands alongside the contemporary superhero epics Batman Begins and Spider-Man for compulsive viewing.

Crammed with special effects and benefiting from exceptional stunt work that includes some classy free running, K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask is pure escapism at its best and is suitable for all the family. Uniquely Japanese, this cool and light-hearted caper showcases dramatic set pieces, amazing tricks and impressive acrobatics.

K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask also features Kanata Hongo as Junior Detective Yoshio Kobayashi; Toru Masuoka as Inspector Namikoshi; and Reiko Takashima as KikuKo, Genji's wife. Executive Produced by Abe Shuji and Okudu Seiji and Written and Directed by Sato Shimako.

The fabulous K-20: The Legend Of The Black Mask swoops onto DVD and Blu-ray from Manga Entertainment on 10 January 2011. Certificate: 12 | Running Time: 137 Minutes | RRP: DVD 15.99; Blu-ray 19.99.

"Entertaining, exciting and funny with superb action sequences, K20: The Legend Of The Black Mask is absolutely terrific and will be high on your list of must-watch movies" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar

"A Japanese steampunk superhero origin tale presented with all the bombast of a glossy Hollywood blockbuster" — DVD Talk