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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Live-action adaptation of INITIAL D

Despite being an ardent anime follower, the whole Initial D craze didn't hit me a few years ago. I watched the first few episodes and the last few episodes for Initial D Stage 1 (there's seem to be a shitload of seasons...) and despite the horrendous character artwork, it IS an addictive anime, hohoho. Just that I couldn't convince myself to spend that much for the series.

So yeah, I went for the live-action version of Initial Day last night, despite it being directed by the directors of the Infernal Affairs trilogy, I wasn't looking forward to it cos...

1) I have no faith in Jay Chou's acting skills. And I didn't want to spend the entire movie staring at his pouting.

2) Hong Kong movies adapted from Japanese manga are usually VERY shitty. I have horrible memories of 'Let's Slam Dunk', a movie back in the early 90s which was based on Slam Dunk. What a horrible piece of crap.

I was wrong. Yes, it was obvious that Jay was a first-timer here when it came to acting, but there really wasn't any way for me to diss him at all. The guy simply DID NOT SUCK in the film. The role was tailor-made for him. I mean, all he had to do was play a guy who seemed to be half-asleep all the time except during racing. What impressed me most was that Jay Chou managed not to make the entire film seem like a vanity project desperate to make himself look good (something Andy Lau used to a lot during the early to mid 90s... and later, Ekin Cheng). He was a good sport, he didn't mind if his own image was being made fun of, and THAT I am impressed with.

He's helped by a solid supporting cast though. Chapman To is once again given the most memorable lines as the sidekick, Anthony Wong (damn, this man seems to appear in every single movie these days) is superb as usual as the dad. Kenny B is hilarious as the sidekick's dad. And many others.

The racing scenes ARE very very good. But what truly blew me away was the camera and the editing work, which, strangely, weren't noticed by the guy who went to see the movie with me. Quick cuts, still shots, it's difficult for me to describe them, but note to self: when I re-edit Forced Labour, this is what I'll do. I don't think everything is cool when MTV-style editing is used, but Forced Labour might just be perfect for this. Yeap.