This is old news for any gear-heads out there (of which I’m not, although I do enjoy my Top Gear), but given the big stink about copyright reform in this country as of late I thought it would be appropriate.
Last night I finally got around to watching The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift — mostly to see how it compared to the China/Japan co-production Initial D. Seeing how Initial D was based on a long-running animé of the same title and released almost a full year before the latest Fast and Furious franchise, I fully expected that the two projects would share the same director, or stunt driving team at least.
But to my surprise, it turns out that they’re not at all related, despite the fact that they’re almost exactly the same movie!
Granted, neither can effectively claim ownership of the drifting phenomenon, but both films feature young male protagonists who happen upon the Tokyo street-racing scene, and thanks to their daddy’s ride win a dangerous race down windy mountain roads against a local thug with connections to the mob. Their only real difference lies in the treatment of the heroes’ love interests, and Initial D‘s is much more believable.
So to put this into perspective, Hollywood can blatantly steal and profit from an existing film without so much as a tip of the hat to the original producers, but it’s illegal for anyone else to share their film for free.
Not that anyone would want to, of course. Tokyo Drift is so inferior in every way to its predecessor that it’s virtually unshareable — unless you’re illiterate and can’t read subtitles, I guess…