K-20: The Fiend With Twenty Faces
DIRECTED BY SHIMAKO SATO
IN JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Join us, grown-up boys and girls, for this rip-snortin’ superhero adventure yarn of yesteryear, reminiscent of Saturday morning serials, prelapsarian sci-fi delights, and an Indiana Jones action comedy that’s fun-tastic. What if World War II never happened? It hasn’t in this lovingly created and visually striking world of a 1949 Japan that never was, where the nobility rules, the have-nots suffer, and technology takes off. As masked crime fighter K-20 takes on nefarious villains, an unlikely hero is found in a talented but overlooked acrobat (Takeshi Kaneshiro), who uses his skills to fight evil. “One day there will be an end to the unfairness in this world,” he reassures us, as so many contemporary superheroes and superhero movies don’t. Kaneshiro (John Woo’s Red Cliff) delivers a physically demanding and soulful performance. While true to the clichés of the genre, the movie also has fun with them, delivering a high energy and boisterously entertaining spectacular with retro-futuristic and big buck visuals. And yes, there’s also a beautiful princess (Japanese superstar Matsu Takako).