Of course I had to watch this movie since I was a big Initial D fan. I had high hopes when watching the opening scene where Jay Chou's character is effortlessly gliding down the mountain pass in his Trueno. That was the best part of the movie unfortunately.
Let's talk about the good first. The car scenes are pretty fun to watch sometimes. In many of the scenes they'll hug a turn on the inside and let the rear slide out and overtake the opponent. It's pretty fun to watch and you just have to wonder who the stunt men are or if they brought in Japanese drift legend, Tsuchiya on to the set for some of these shots.
Unfortunately that's the only thing that is good about this movie. Let's talk about the bad now. The characters are two dimensional. If you are a fan of the anime you will not find your beloved characters here. Jay Chou does a pretty bad job as the protagonist. I feel like he's always mumbling out his lines or is just wondering why he isn't doing the music video yet. Also, let's talk about his friends. They're morons. His best friend Itsuki is more of a raving idiot than his anime counterpart would ever hope to be. In the anime, this character talks about trying to get better and having Takumi as his inspiration. In the movie, this character talks about how he's a racing god and when he loses and wrecks he asks his poor father to buy him an even faster car (GTR) so that he can rematch and wreck that one too. Takumi's father is also a drunk and a bum. Also he is abusive. He beats his son and Jay Chou has scars on his back from all the beatings. I don't know what they were thinking by making him an abusive drunkard since obviously from the original material he was never one. Obviously, you can tell from what I'm writing here that the director probably never watched an episode of Initial D in his life.
I find the camera work to be also crappy and low budget. There are lots of scenes where they freeze the frame and you are left thinking "did something happen to my DVD player?" Nope. That's their creative take on racing. To freeze the scene even when it's a person's face talking. Then there's the music. Nothing in the movie was good except for Jay Chou's song. The racing scenes have music that sounds like a background track for a rap battle without the rapping. If you're a fan of the anime don't expect to hear your favorite eurobeat tracks or Move songs.
Overall I was bored, only paid attention during the races and got utterly perplexed by the ridiculous ending sequence where the people are celebrating. The other team and even his abusive father who has his arms around two young girls start cheering. Also I'd like to point out that not only is a 3 car race unfair, I've never seen a race with 3 cars in Initial D or any mountain race scene in any movie!
Next time try not to squeeze so much crap in.
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Two mountain road racers, Nakazato and Takahashi, challenged each other to find the best racers, and defeat them in "battles". Nakazato was surprisingly defeated by an old Toyota Trueno AE86 (Corolla in the US) one night, and he searched for the person who defeated him, which lead him to the Speedstars, a local team. But the car who beat him was actually driven by a local Tofu shop owner's son, Takumi Fujiwara, who had unknowingly perfected the art of mountain racing through daily deliveries of tofu. Takumi was able to defeat Nakazato again, showing that he is no fluke. However, winning hasn't helped him home life, as his father, Bunta Fujiwara, was a drunkard (and a racing genius). His girlfriend Natsuki Mogi wants his attention even though she's got a dark and shameful secret, and his best friend Itsuki (who has no talent in driving) wants Takumi to teach him road racing... after buying the WRONG car. In a mountain road encounter, they ran into Team Emperor's Mitsubishi Evo, and normally the old junker don't stand a chance, but when controlled by Takumi they were able to defeat the Evo... And attract the wrath of Sudou, Team Emperor's leader. In another chance encounter, Sudou ran the AE86 and Takumi to the limit... and beyond... Forcing the AE86 out with a busted engine. However, Takahashi is there to lend a hand. With Bunta's help, they repaired the AE86, this time with a true racing engine, and a three-way showdown between Takahashi, Fujiwara, and Sudou is on... Who will be the winner at the end?
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