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Initial D (2005)

Tau man ji D (original title)
TV-PG | | Action, Comedy, Drama | 23 June 2005 (China)
After winning his first competition, Takumi focuses his attention on drift racing, a sport he has unknowingly perfected while delivering tofu in his father's Toyota AE86.

Directors:

(as Andrew Lau), | 1 more credit »

Writers:

(comic books), (screenplay)

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9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bunta 'Tofuman' Fujiwara (as Anthony Wong)
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Itsuki Tachibana
Tsuyoshi Abe ...
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Liu Keng Hung ...
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Kiyohiko Ueki ...
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Kazuo Yashiro ...
SpeedStars Member
Miki Kuroiwa ...
Natsuki Mogi's Classmate
Megumi Seitone ...
Natsuki Mogi's Classmate
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Storyline

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 K. Chang

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not what you drive, it's what drives you See more »


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

23 June 2005 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Initial D  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$931,946 (Hong Kong) (1 July 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Anthony Wong (Bunta Fujiwara), in the original script there was a race between Bunta and another racer. Due to time constraints, this was cancelled. See more »

Goofs

When Bunta is driving the AE86 Trueno the camera closes in on the Tachometer. In the background it is clearly visible that the Speedometer is not functioning at all. Later in the movie a close up of the Speedometer shows it working again. See more »

Quotes

Bunta Fujiwara: You've been driving by yourself all these years. You've never competed with anyone. Remember, don't pay attention to the competition itself. Ignore other racers. The one you need to beat is yourself.
See more »

Connections

Remake of Initial D: Second Stage (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Gloves To Ali
Performed by Ghost Style
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Merely a "Jay Chou" star vehicle and a disappointment to both manga and racing fans
16 December 2009 | by (http://thexamtaroshowvault.blogspot.sg) – See all my reviews

It is official. NOBODY seems to be able to do a anime/manga adaptation right. Hollywood has had a spotty track record with some good ones (Speed Racer, Guyver Dark Hero) but many terrible ones (Dragonball Evolution etc). France has had minimal success with Blood the Last Vampire and Even Japan has trouble making a anime adaptation that not only stays true to the original source but is a good movie in its own right(deathnote was very true to the original but turned out like a cheesy, convoluted B movie).

With a cast of A list actors, a veteran director and the promise of a blockbuster hit that would satisfy all, Tau Man Ni D(initial D) looked to be the one to buck that trend. Alas, it only proved that even veteran Hong Kong directors cannot make a good anime adaptation. Fans were appalled by all the changes made to many of the main characters. Changes like that are actually fine if they work well, but in Tau Man Ji's case, they did not. Having alienated the long time fans, at least the production team would do well to deliver a solid movie experience right? WRONG!

Tau Man Ji D focuses on the story of young Takumi, a tofu delivery boy who honed his drifting skills delivering for his father in the Akina mountain roads. He drives the AE86 and soon attracts the attention of local street race gangs who come to challenge Takumi to races on the treacherous downhill roads. Along the way, he has to deal with his budding romance with his girlfriend Natsuki and take on the notorious "Emperor team". Aside from the aforementioned changes in the personalities of many characters, the premise is the same as the manga. However the whole setting is a very confused one. Though obviously set in japan, everyone speaks in fluent Cantonese. It would have been a lot more believable to either set the story in hong kong or at least dub over the actors with a Japanese voice track.

Even as a stand-alone story, barring any comparisons to the original manga and anime, Tau Man Ji D would still be a mediocre film. The main narrative is easy enough to follow but not exactly the most original of plots; typical underdog sports story. Sadly the romantic subplot feels forced thanks to Jay Chou's flat-tire acting and a very cheesy script. There is fair share of comic relief moments but they come across as very awkward and horribly misplaced. Most of the actors, except the "star" Jay Chou, play their roles with utmost professionalism. Too bad The script itself has quite a bit of uncomfortable lines that read more like sentences in an essay than actual conversation dialog.

Being part of title itself, one would expect the drift races to at least look good. THEY DO NOT! The racing itself is fine and pretty well choreographed but the camera-work and editing is painful to watch. It lacks the kinetic sense of energy that made other racing films like Fast and Furious: tokyo Drift such fun to watch. Most racing scenes involve documentary-style wide tracking shots of the cars zooming by or a static first person perspective shot that looks like it was sped up in post production to make the cars look like they are moving faster than they really are. Cheesy cartoony Freeze frame and choppily edited slow motion all give this film the look of a cheap B movie. They even tried to use CGI for one very obvious crash scene, but the crappy computer generated car looked very fake against the photo-realistic background.

The only reason for Tau Man Ji D's possible success in Asia was the cast and Jay Chou. Banking on Jay Chou's fame as a singer, this movie attracted the bulk of young Chinese music fans who just want to see their idol's big screen debut, caring little for the movie itself. A very clever though underhanded marketing strategy that effectively makes Tau Man Ji D only good as a star vehicle for the Taiwanese pop star. Well this star vehicle does not fire on all cylinders. It chugs its way from start to finish on flat tires, flat scripting and flat directing. Aside from Jay Chou fans, followers of the manga and lovers of good racing movies would do well to look elsewhere.


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