From the acclaimed director of INFERNAL AFFAIRS and THE STORMRIDERS, Andrew Lau, comes this live-action spectacular about the furious streetcar sport of "Drifting". INITIAL D raced its way to the very top of the Hong Kong... more »'s summer box office and is based on one of Japan's most popular manga. For 5 years, 18 year-old Takumi (Taiwan musical phenom Jay Chou in his big screen debut) has delivered tofu orders for his ex-racecar driving father (Anthony Wong). By night, Takumi ups the velocity and screeches his way around the dark slopes and narrow curves of the hills surrounding his home, perfecting the dangerous art of "Drifting". So fasten your seat belt and feel the adrenaline pumping full throttle as INITIAL D unleashes a new generation of racers...where speed alone is just not enough.« less
"While the anime stayed fairly close to the manga, this live action movie makes substantial character and plot changes. For instance, Bunta is now perceived more as a drunken womanizer more than the retired legendary (yet still smug and egotistical) racer from Akina. Ryousuke and Keisuke Takahashi are essentially one character. Several other characters don't even appear in the movie.
The plot was also condensed considerably. Instead of being a movie covering a few races from the anime's first season, it compresses everything from the first three stages (which took the anime 39 thirty-minute episodes and its own two-hour movie). Obviously with about two hours of time, this movie had to drop several races and increase the pace of character and car driving technique development.
However, the movie does get some things right. Character development is focused on Takumi and his indecisiveness of what he wants to be in life. The actual car racing uses the real cars that the characters drive in the series, and most of the driving is more realistic than completely special effects. The mood of the movie fits, and it follows the general "teenager who has special skills but doesn't know it" plot of the series. Itsuki is still the overzealous racer wanna-be, even if his character's background was totally changed.
One thing to note is that there is absolutely no EuroBeat music in this version, which can be a good or bad thing depending if you're a fan. Most of the Chinese pop music is from Jay Chou, who plays Takumi.
In the end, if you're a previous fan of the series, don't go in expecting to see a live-action version of the anime or manga. You'll just end up disappointed that the movie tries to cover so much ground in such a short amount of time. This movie is like the later Harry Potter movies in that it is an okay adaption of a much better and more detailed story."
DrumJ8 | 03/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to give a review of this, because it could go either way. Some people like it and some people don't, but I don't think you'd be able to tell until you've watched it. Personally, I liked the live action movie--I liked the anime better, but the live action was still pretty cool. There are obviously changes that the directors made that many people won't like, but... Overall, I liked it, and if you haven't seen it, check it out and see for yourself."
Avid Fan | Hialeah,FL USA | 07/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Guys look I know that by the reviews that the movie is not like the manga anime series but for what it is the movie is a fun action comedy that you can enjoy. Aleast you don't have to dramatize it into a life or death situaition like the Fast and Furious series has beeen doing. This has cool racing scenes and sweet cars doing the best drifting i've ever seen. And not to mention the comidic side of this story works and Anthony Wong is the man. If you hate this movie just because it did not stay true to the anime then you are being unfair to this movie. This is a fun film to watch and you will find it refreshing to see as Initial D will take you to the wildest drift of your life."
Fantastic Driving Scenes
D. Shaw | West Midlands UK | 08/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For fans of Japanese cars & drift racing this is a must. It deserves 4 stars for the driving action scenes alone, made well before the recent Tokyo Drift movie & probably more true to life. The story line is nothing special, but this is a cult comic book in Japan & fitting everything into a movie can sometimes be difficult. Watch the chinese version with subtitles, the dubbing is OK but the voices always seem weird !!"
zmac1907 | greensboro, nc | 11/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have read many of the reviews, and I realize that this movie is a condensed form of the anime series, however, I have to admit that this movie was excellent. Try comparing this movie to the first two incarnations of Fast and Furious (especially #2), I would have to say that Initial D is by far the superior.
The storyline is basic but enjoyable, with the main characters getting a decent amount of screen time. However, what sets the movie apart is the cars! I am a car nut, and I love the way the cars, ranging from the RX-7 to the Trueno, were cleanly built and well crafted to fit the mold from the anime. The drifting sequences were breath-taking, including the final racing sequence (I'll let you watch that).
Please remember that this is geared mainly for those that enjoy cars and drifting, then I highly recommend this."