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Being sort of a cult classic, I enjoyed the nostalgic feeling of the movie, though the plot was a little thin and the acting left a bit to be desired. Would definitely watch again.
Great movie for car lovers, bad movie for romantics. The racing bit is great but is cut up too much with the weird and cheesy romance storyline.
A poor attempt to expand on one of the best anime of the 90's, with bland characters, no true plot, corny filler scenes and lack of Eurobeat. A letdown, especially to the reigning king of Tokyo Drift. At least the racing scenes aren't half-bad.
Sleepy dude learns freakish driving skills by delivering tofu on the other side of the mountain at ungodly hours.
Smooth is fast.
Had to drop a half star for his old man being the abusive type rather than the hidden lesson type.
It's really funny!!! If you are good at cantonese, you will understand some jokes fully!!
I've just seen this movie a few months back, and it's okay towards the end, but it's crap for the most part, mostly because it's not the same as either the Manga, or the Anime, they don't even have the Eurobeat, HOW CAN YOU EVEN CALL IT INITIAL D, WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE THE EUROBEAT!!??
But I did enjoy the races, though not as much as how it was in the anime, but nevertheless I still give this movie 2 stars out of 5!??
Based on the highly popular Japanese manga/anime series this Hong Kong made movie clearly took some ideas from the earlier American smash hit movie 'The Fast and the Furious'. Despite the whole concept of illegal street racing generally being a word wide thing its always been a popular icon in American and Japanese pop culture/culture. The concept of drifting (drift racing) is originally an entirely Japanese form of illegal racing which involves racing down and through tight mountain passes or simple tight narrow winding roads. This movie is centred on drift racing (as was the source material) and will feel very similar to 'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift', so if you enjoyed that you'll like this.
The plot is obvious and the usual thing for this type of movie. A young tofu delivering teen is the undisputed king of the mountain when it comes to drifting, he learnt everything he knows from his racing guru of a father...who for comedic purposes is a drunk. His fame for drifting gets noticed by various other racer gangs/teams and he is challenged at various points throughout until he must face some stiff competition at the end. During all this racing drama there is of course the drama of reality with a girlfriend, his best mate who also wants to race, the car breaking down, his father etc...the usual boyracer issues.
Lets be brutally honest here...this movie is basically a Fast and Furious movie set in Japan, its virtually an extension to Tokyo Drift. Everything plays out as you'd expect, the characters are all cliched and cheesy (I love the Japanese black leather wearing gang racers with bandanas and dreads), the races are of course predictable and you know what's gonna happen at every turn (pun intended). What makes it a bit unique is the simple fact its set in Japan, a very picturesque prefecture, it feels more realistic being in Japanese (subs) and the race sequences are gritty looking.
In that sense the movie is better than its US counterparts (just like Tokyo Drift is the best of the 'FnF' franchise). The racing is very impressive and very realistic with genuine drifting stunts on genuine tight twisty roads in Japan. Again I must stress its nothing you haven't seen before of course, not anymore, but it looks really solid. There is little fanfare here either, the races are merely two average looking modded ricers, a few drably dressed onlookers, the hero is also pretty drab himself and there are little to no special effects bar the odd zooming through the car interior and a hint of internal engine tomfoolery. Expect lots of slow motion replays, tight camera angles on the cars, flybys, close-ups on pedals and speedometers, grimacing facial close-ups etc...all regular racing cliches.
There are no semi-naked females in ultra tight skimpy attire, no boom boxes blaring out rap tunage, no heavily blinged up chavy patrons, no heavily pimped up stupid looking cars, no muscles covered in tattoos blah blah blah. This is very down to earth and grounded, Japanese teens are incredibly sensible and well dressed compared to teens elsewhere. Its actually amusing to see them try and be rebellious because they just end up looking like preppy school kids dressed badly.
As I already said the cars are not luminous monstrosities scraping the tarmac polluting the air with hip hop and with the kind of body kits you'd see being used for a glider. Nope...what I loved about this movie was the use of straight up ricers with little gloss but plenty of real muscle. Naturally we see the glorious GT-R, a lovely Mazda RX-7, a stunning Evo IV and the plucky little Toyota Sprinter Trueno that is taken faithfully from the manga series. In the manga series the Toyota is apparently unmodified but in this movie it does seem to be somewhat with suspension and the odd bits n bobs. There are quite a few inevitable changes from the source material to this movie and one appears to be the absence of how Takumi's father does a Mr Miyagi and slowly teaches him how to become a top drifter/racer without him even realising whilst he delivers his tofu. In this movie you do get a hint of that but it seems as though Takumi knows he's being taught which takes away the sparkle.
Watching this now it feels very very very hokey I won't deny, its cringeworthy in places its so damn corny. Plus the rush in street racing flicks has flooded the market so the originality is long gone. Like I said the locations work nicely and will really get Jap super saloon fanboys excited and the cast is solid despite a weak performance from lead star Jay Chou as Takumi...he's hardly much to look at either. Chapman To is easily the best thing cast wise with his chubby bumbling over the top comedic display combined with that odd haircut, he does boost the movie which would of been too dull in places without him. The movie ends on a bit of a flat note I think but other than that its a decent street racer flick which should satisfy anyone who likes this sort of thing. Still not too sure why the franchise is called 'Initial D'.
Best Racing Movie.. i Absolutely Love It ..
My rating is more about personal enjoyment than quality. That said, it's better than its Hollywood counterparts (e.g. Fast and Furious, Gone In 60 Seconds, etc.), mostly because it's more about skill-heavy racing than about shallow, cliched characters. For those who aren't "togue" racing fans, car nuts, or the like, this can be skipped. Also, it doesn't do a great job at faithfully preserving some important characters, most notably the hero's father, Bunta. Also, the hero, Takumi, is blander than in the anime, but otherwise a decent enough interpretation. The movie's weaknesses and narrow target audience aside, it's a massive cut above in terms of the racing photography, and does a fair job of distilling the anime series into two hours of live action, with the exception of the necessary abandoning of the continual commentary by the characters on the mechanics and psychology of togue racing. Must-see for Initial D fans and car racing nuts.
Saw this when it came out awesome film just wish they would do another one