K-20: Legend of the Mask

Rated 2.0

Set in an alternate 1949 Japan where World War II never existed, K-20: The Legend of the Mask is a foreign take on a particularly American genre: the lugubrious, needlessly long superhero movie. Like so many of its American brothers, K-20 takes over two hours to establish an uninteresting “creation myth” as prelude to a series of sequels you couldn’t possibly want to see. The setup here involves a lowly circus performer (Takeshi Kaneshiro), the cape-flipping bandit K-20, a celebrity detective and his beautiful but dissatisfied fiancée. Throw in some warmed-over parkour and a conclusion that revolves around a Nikola Tesla-designed death machine and you have the potential for popcorn-crunching fun. Unfortunately, writer/director Shimako Sato spends most of the film’s 137 minutes elaborating on a plot that doesn’t make sense and characters we never care about.