Initial D's live action movie premiered last week in Asia. Based on the Japanese manga/anime of the same name, this Hong Kong flick filmed in Japan showcases a very well known cast made up of Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Japanese superstars. Word has it that they have taken some liberties with the storyline (can't screenwriters and producers ever leave the material untouched?) but it doesn't seem to be detrimental as the movie has outgrossed both Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the new Star Wars movie in the Hong Kong market. Anyone surprised? Guys want to see it for the cars, and the ladies probably want to see it for Jay Chou, Edison, Jordan and the other heart throbs. For background information on the series and movie, read up.
Anyway the film probably will never make it state side. Unless of course it gets picked up and remade into Fast and Furious 3, which in that event, we wouldn't want to see it anyway. BTW, the directors of Initial D were also the guys behind Infernal Affairs which is being remade for the American audience. It is being directed by Martin Scorcese and will be starring Leonardo DiCaprio. What happened to Matt Damon? Thought he was attached to that project. A Matt Damon movie, I would see, DiCaprio doesn't really make the cut.
And now, the good and bad news. Though the first release was of miserable quality, a second release has made its debut. The only qualm I have with it is that it's Mandarin dubbed. Would have much preferred the Cantonese audio like the first release. There are two or so torrents floating around, make sure you grab the right one. I downloaded this one first and can't get it to play. I'm unsure if it's something wrong with how I transferred the file, but GSpot reports it as an invalid .avi file. About to finish grabbing the other release (the one I linked to up above 'second release') and from the comments I've read it's in Mandarin but it seems to play alright. I've always wanted to be a tofu delivery boy. Stinky tofu anyone?
Update: Had an opportunity to view the movie late last night before nodding off. The Mandarin dubbing isn't bad at all. The English subtitles could use some work, but you shouldn't have too many problems getting the gist of the movie. The video and audio quality was top notch. Like Batman Begins, the screenwriters took some liberties in condensing the Initial D series into one movie. The background story was executed well, it was concise/straight to the point. They also changed some characters around and made Itsuki even more annoying. But again, nothing I disliked really, except the scenes with Takumi's love interest, Natsuki. I was pleasantly surprised that Chicken from the Young and Dangerous series was the driver of the LanEvo. His acting was 'eh', but Chicken still remains... the man.
Anthony Wong as Bunta (Takumi's father) stole the show! Out of the entire movie, I enjoyed his scenes the most and to be honest, the movie is worth watching just for his performance. Everything else in the movie was as expected, nothing really exceeded expectations or disappointed. Worth watching...