In this prequel to Mou gaan dou (2002), Chan Wing Yan has just become an undercover cop in the triads while Lau Kin Ming joins the police force. Both the triads and the police find an enemy in a rival crime boss.
Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
Picking up right after the events of 'First Stage', 'Second Stage' continues to follow the underground Road Racing career of high-school student/delivery boy Takumi Fujiwara and friends as ... See full summary »
A beautiful real-estate agent (Peiru) gets drunk at a karaoke bar and throws up on a principled, lonely cop (Zhendong). Zhendong quickly falls for the flirtatious Peiru despite the fact ... See full summary »
Gao and his friends are the happiest kids in the city of Galilee. Living on the rooftops of this bustling metropolis, sometimes life can be tough, but they still churn out songs all day, ... See full summary »
A hero cop accidentally leads his team into a trap from which he is the only survivor. Drowning his guilt in booze, he is eventually assigned a new younger partner who turns out to have his own secrets.
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 ... Written by
For a long period of time, Edison Chen was slated to play Takumi Fujiwara, and Andy Lau was even rumored to be up for the role of Bunta. See more »
A few times in the movie before Takumi blows the engine in the AE86 Trueno you get a shot of the dashboard with the new Tachometer, other times it isn't there. See more »
[to himself about his dad, who left the gas station behind to look after Bunta's car]
That sucks. He's not young anymore. He's so irresponsible, leaving his business like this. What's gonna happen to me if it goes bankrupt? It's good that I've been living on my own, or else, I wouldn't be this chubby.
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Just to set the expectations from this review, I have not read the Initial D manga, nor watched any of the anime. Therefore this review's point of view will be from the cinematic experience, and there will be no comparison on how true it stays to the manga/anime.
Despite all the star power in the film, from teeny boppers Edison Chen and Shawn Yue, to veterans Kenny Bee and Anthony Wong, this still remains a Jay Chou vehicle (pardon the pun). Jay stars as a petrol pump attendant who by day works at a petrol kiosk, and in the wee hours of the night, helps his tofu selling dad deliver tofu in an old Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno using a route that traverses along a winding Mount Akina.
Naturally, with his 5 years experience, he intimately knows the terrain, and gets faster each time, until a group of street racers set their sights to conquer the route.
There will definitely be comparisons with Hollywood's The Fast and The Furious series, starring Vin Diesel/Paul Walker. The similarities are there - the fast cars, the beautiful racer babes, the rivalry between arrogant drivers. You even get the same cinematography technique used that starts from the driver's POV, pulling back to the dashboard, the rear seat, the boot, and the car from a "helicopter" view.
But what sets this film apart is the way it is delivered. Being based on a comic book offers some depth to the storyline, and it helped by staying true to the setting, being based in Japan and not HK. The races in itself might seem repetitive, as the highlight seemed to be focused on its title - the "drift" technique, being used ad-nausem, but having different drivers challenge each other on the one and only route breaks the monotony as you root for your favourite to come out tops.
Given this is Jay Chou's debut movie role, it is difficult to critique if his acting skills are up to mark, as his lead character Takumi Fujiwara is a nonchalant man of few words. Which is very much like his persona. His co-stars Edison Chen and Shawn Yue could very well be their own persons as well. Chapman To, as usual, brings across the rather light hearted moments, and Anthony Wong as Chou's dad, a veteran race ace who finds solace in the bottle and having a penchant for dozing off.
Perhaps the only flaw about the movie was the sappy romance between Jay and his Japanese co-star. Not that she isn't gorgeous (which is a saving grace), but their scenes together doesn't further the plot much, and slows down the pace somewhat of this movie about the need for speed.
This is an enjoyable flick, one in which I waited for the theme song / tune to be featured (only at the end credits!). But no, I don't think I will be converted to a Jay Chou fan boy anytime soon.
I suspect that in the upcoming weeks, we probably might see parallel imports / makes of the Trueno on our shores to satisfy the racer boy wannabes (heard Singapore only has 2?), although it probably can't run as fast as in the movies (movie magic lah). And yeah, the driving with one hand on the wheel and the other on the face, with the contemplating look.
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