QotW: What’s the best use of a JNC in cinema?

Recently around the ol’ JNC water cooler, we had a discussion about movies that contained excellent scenes of Japanese cars. We’re not talking random fillers but, cars that served to enhance the character’s persona. We asked a similar question in May 2012, and an office favorite was The Wolf’s NSX in Pulp Fiction, where the producers could have made a more cliché, on-the-nose pick (like a Jag or something) but went Japanese instead.

But that was over seven years ago and there’s been a lot more movies (and cars that have fallen into the 25-year threshold of classic-dom) since. In September of that year, for example, Looper was released, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hit-man from a dystopian future kept an NA Mazda Miata as a collector’s car.

What’s the best use of a JNC in cinema?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Will the sport compact style make a nostalgic comeback?”

We received a tremendous variation in answers from last week’s question, both positive and negative. Nick says they’re already making a comeback. F31Roger fondly remembers the scene from the Y2K era and yearns for a comeback. The aptly named R.I.P. Paul Walker emphatically wants it to stay dead. Peter Safonov had an interesting take, saying that the look has already been adopted by manufacturers in the form of wings and scoops on production cars. Doctah Jones almost won it with a comment that said the exact look will be relegated to the past like wizard vans, but a reboot with some of the more extreme aspects toned down might be possible. Ultiamtely, it was Streetpunk64 who won the week, saying:

Many of the parts will likely never be offered again. (like my strobe light up side mirrors in the box from an ad in Super Street from 2002. Or my lighted exhaust tips from APC.

Guys are trying to replicate the style. Love it or hate it is still around and I believe there will be a few hardcore builders. Kids who grew up watching F&F never had a chance to join in. Now they are in their 20’s and want what they never had the opportunity to get.

For me it was old custom Vans. When I was a kid you would see them all painted up with everything from Elvis to John Wayne (it was the times) In less then three years they were gone.Remember by the time I started to drive would see them in junk yards. To find an authentic build that hasn’t been left in the elements you will pay up. To find one and build from the ground will take more $$ to source the old school parts.I priced porthole windows recently new old stock for under a grand. New they were $69. That will soon be true for a rice build. I am getting ready. I have a carbon fiber hood for an EF.!

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14 Responses to QotW: What’s the best use of a JNC in cinema?

  1. Lupus said:

    For me the best JNC use in cinema was the latest itaration of Ghost in the Shell. The live-action with Scarlet Johanson as Major Kusanagi and Takeshi Kitano as Chief Aramaki. [SPOLIER ALERT]
    In the scene when Hanka goon’s try to assasinate Aramaki the background vechicle is a Subaru XT with moon-disc-style hub caps. And as a reminder – the action of the movie takes place around mid-21st-century when augmented reality and cyber-brains are something normal. It shows how ahead of it’s time this car was.
    [SPOILER END]

  2. Banpei said:

    I was very impressed with the JNC usage in the 2010 live action film (loosely) based upon the book The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o Kakeru Shōjo). As the title suggests: some girl will travel back in time, 1974 to be more precise.

    Placing a movie in the 70s would suggest that there are a lot of 70s JNCs to be seen. Indeed a white Kenmeri Skyline coupe pops up every now an then, just like a couple of Toyota Publicas and Toyota Corollas;. But what surprised me was the excellent mix of 50s, 60s and 70s nostalgia in the movie. I can’t remember all of them by heart, but I remember there were Subaru 360s, Mazda Carols and other pre-70s cars to be seen. None of these nostalgics play a big role in the movie but they contribute to the overall atmosphere of the movie.

    There is one highlight though: there is one scene in the pooring rain where the two protagonists stand in front of a while Kenmeri Skyline coupe holding an umbrella above their heads. I have no idea if this was intentional, but it’s a nice nod to the Ken & Mary umbrella branding.

  3. Lachlan said:

    I think it was the Toyota 2000GT in “You Only Live Twice.”

    Quite simply it was a stunning car and excellent product placement, at a time when James Bond movies were MASSIVE box office and filled with classic British and American sports cars.

    I can’t help but think that this was a major shift in how the audience viewed Japanese cars at the time.

  4. Tj said:

    It might not sound like the best, but stay with me a minute

    One of Ben Mendelsohn’s early movies, an Australian film called The Big Steal, saw an early 60’s Nissan Cedric used as the butt of a story establishing joke. It’s your run of the mill coming of age story where the main character turns 18 and he’s excited to learn that his parents want to give him a car for his birthday. He’s less excited to learn it’s their Cedric (like an idiot)

    Instead, his heart is set on an XJ6 Jaguar for some bloody reason, so he TRADES the Cedric for one (like an even bigger idiot!)

    Turns out the car salesman was suss, the Jag didn’t run (an OEM feature from memory), hijinks ensue and the gorgeous baby blue Cedric is never seen again.

    The funniest part of the movie now is that the Cedric is probably worth more money these days and is much more likely to still have functioning wiring

    *Honourable mention* The character Toadie in Mad Max 2 used C-pillar “Colt” badges from a ’75-76 Mitsubishi Galant on the sides of his hat as well as two of the front quarter panel “Galant 1600” badges on the front of his jacket.

  5. Clay said:

    Dare I say it? The Toyota Corona coupe in the Walt Disney movie The Boatniks (1970) .

  6. Keith Measures said:

    The movie is just god awful, by no means should anyone ever ever ever watch it but the use of the AW11, CRX and the FC Rx7 in 2015s Fantastic Four is the one part of the movie that should be recognized. Like i feel someone in the production of this movie just snuck this in because they love the cars or something. None of the glitz or glamour like in F and F or other street racing movies, just some kids racing their cars. To me it feels way more authentic than most films

    Also more props to it for using real 4age sound clips, whereas most use generic 4 cylinder sounds. Even the CRX sounds like a Honda off the line.

  7. Ottoman818 said:

    The Toyota Corolla SR-5 Coupe in Bridesmaids.

  8. Greyfox said:

    I am gonna go with Hachiroku: the movie AKA: Initial D, the live action movie. It is a movie literally centered around the cars, it has all the cars that have gone way up in value and desirability like the AE86, FC RX7, S13 Silvia, and it has alot of real world driving/drifting and minimal CG. They did an OK job at condensing the series into a movie despite a few changes here and there.

    • Lupus said:

      Awesome choice. I tought about it as the one of the best “JNC-live-action-movies”. But if we are consdering movies revolving totally about cars, not only the ones only “containg car scenes” it’s hard to beat the “Shutokou Kousoku Trial” series. Dozens of uber-cool japanese sports-steel: R30, R31, A70, R32, Z31, Z32, SW20 etc. Similary a true paradise for eyes is Jackie Chan’s “Thunderbolt” Half of Gran Turismo 1 race cars are on the starting grid of the final race. But these movies are centered around cars that wheren’t old-school back then. They where in late ’80-early ’90 like F&F trilogy in the 2000’s. “Wangan Midnight: The Movie” is something diffenent in that matter, because it happens in modern times, when R34 GT-R ruled the Expressways. And an seemingly outdated S30Z give’s everyone a serious beating. 😉

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