A pleasant surprise.
The movie came out back in 2005, right when the fourth season was airing in Japan. The movie basically covers the story of the first three seasons in about an hour and a half.
Of course, this means a lot of stuff has been cut out. In fact, the only races shown were that against the R32 (1st Stage) and against the Emperor’s Lan-Evo team (2nd Stage). The battle against Ryouske took place in the end, in a three way battle royale amongst Takumi, Ryouske and Kyouichi (leader of Emperor).
They cut out a lot of story and characters as well. Like Keisuke (Rouyske’s younger brother with the yellow RX-7) isn’t even included at all. Also, Takumi finds out about Mogi going out with an old guy for money towards the end of the film, which then prompts him to join Ryouske’s racing team, leading to the Fourth Stage.
The film itself is a mixed bag. There are some very memorable scenes, like the Akina lake walk, blowing the AE86’s engine and of course most of the races. However, the movie seems to fall apart as there is no strong core holding it together. Many times things just seem random and the viewer is expected to have some background knowledge on certain things.
I saw the Mandarin language track with subtitles, so all the songs were also of the original Asian release; a good mix of hip hop and moody guitar solos when the scenes required it. The camera angles were extremely dynamic during races. One thing that irritated me was stopping the movie for half a second to show the impact of a scene.
I’ll conclude by saying that this movie is just for Initial D fans. Outside of the anime and manga, the movie doesn’t hold it’s own Tokyo Drift was a better experience.
And with that…