To quote from the end credits: "This is not related to the animation called Initial D."
That aside, it was fairly entertaining -- through frequently in an incredibly painful way. I actually liked Mogi a lot better in this version. The guy playing Takumi pulled off a lovely space case. Itsuki... was annoying. But hey, that's Itsuki. I hated Takeshi's jacket. But then, I hate that style jacket. Don't ask me why.
On the guilty pleasures side, I like Emperor. Okay, completely ignore that they were so not the Emperor we know from the series. But in that spazzy, over-the-top kind of way, they were fascinating to watch. And squeal at in horror. That truck of theirs... *faceplants*
I didn't like Ryousuke at first, but I got used to him. Then again, that sounds kinda similar to the original series as well...
On the driving side... *shudder* Fingernails on a chalkboard. There had to have been at least one competent stunt driver, since they had a couple of onboard shots where they were taking a competent line. The rest of them... Just *shudder*
Now for the completely geeky part: the locations.
The tofu shop is not the real life tofu shop. I have it on good authority that there is a building on either side of the real life store. (Unlike in the manga, where Shigeno-sensei kindly knocked down one of the buildings so Takumi could park his car.) Also, there is not a bar across the street from the RL tofu store. (Much though that probably would have appealed to this movie's Bunta.) And it's located on a slightly wider street.
The gas station is obviously not the real gas station, for countless reasons. It's an Esso station, not a Cosmo. There is no Book-off across the street from the real one. The bridge across the street the gas station is located is missing. The list goes on and on. Research Girl declares: Not the one! No, no, not the one. This is wrong gas station.
I'm pretty certain that none of the racing sequences were shot on Akina. As I said before, the tunnel obviously is not. (I noticed the credits mentioned the Niigata film board -- ten points for Research Girl! Though I have no idea what was shot in Takasaki...) The stuff that takes place at the summit of Akina is, as I said, on location. There is one sequence of Takumi driving past the summit that was correct for the road beyond the summit on the opposite side from the downhill course. It promptly wanders into Somewhere Else land, since there are no rice paddies located on the summit of Akina.
I think they might have had correct overhead shots of the five hairpin turns, since in a couple of shots I think I saw the helipad. I'm not entirely sure, though.
Takumi and Mogi do go to Lake Akina for their date. I know the boardwalk they are on. I was intrigued to see that the camera work took active pains to make sure not to show Akina-Fuji (the highly recognizable volcanic peak.) I'm betting that the local Powers That Be insisted that it not show up, thanks to some delusion that maybe no one will figure out where "Akina" is really located if nothing particularly recognizable shows up. (They are, of course, completely deluded. Particularly when major road atluses contain text like "Initial D set here" next to the relevent road.)
I can tell I've been doing too much rally speccy'ing... I was horrified by the number of times they put spectators on the outside of turns in the movie. It's not every day that you find someone who is standing somewhere even more insane than a where a rally fan would choose.
Ah, and what a thing to do to a perfectly nice Evo III. *sigh*