Friday, April 3, 2009

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

It felt so good to watch a "commercial" film after I've written too many lines for research papers! I rented this third film of the series The Fast and the Furious by believing that it doesn't require much thinking to enjoy it, which is true. However, despite having its flaws (i.e. the clichés of teenager films), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift shouldn't disappoint you if you're looking for some good racing scenes. Period.


We're introduced to Sean (Lucas Black), a teenager who has always moved with his mom because he always gets in trouble. After he got arrested for illegal racing, Sean's mom believes that instead of moving, he should be sent to Japan (where his military father is) to study in order to avoid going to jail. Once in Japan, Sean's dad makes it clear that he doesn't want Sean to be involved in street racing. However, after he met Twinkie (Bow Wow), Sean gets caught up in underground racing and the undefeated champion is Takashi (Brian Tee), who happens to be the nephew of the Yakuza's leader. Besides, after a first defeat, Sean will strive to learn how to drift with a car in order to beat Takashi. In order to be up to the challenge, Sean asks for the help of Han (Sung Kang), who is Takashi's friend (but Takashi doesn't like to see his friend helping an "enemy").

One thing is sure: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is, in terms of plot, better than 2 Fast 2 Furious. In fact, unlike its predecessor, this film has the merit of having a script animated by a good focus. This means that all the racing scenes have something to do with the central point of the story, that is Sean's attempt to keep the Yakuzas off him once and for all. However, despite trying to have a script, Tokyo Drift is just one of those bland teenager films that, in this case, tries to amaze us with its gorgeous actresses and superb racing scenes. Besides, the film is just predictable, formulaic and to make things worse, the cast's performance is uninspiring.

Well, that's what happens when each character just correspond to a specific type of character: a girl who is there to add a love sub-plot to the film (Nathalie Kelley), a bad guy (who clearly wants to be identified as a bad guy), a dull (if not annoying) sidekick trying to bring some attitude (Bow Wow) and so on.

With that said, Tokyo Drift could have been a better film, but in its final result, it should "let the cars do the talking" just to quote one character. In fact, we don't get to see a lot about Sean's relation with his father. Despite stating that he cares for Sean's well-being, how much does Sean's father wants him to go to jail in the USA after he learnt that Sean is in street racing? So much for using so many characters as ornaments. Like I said, if this film has any value, it's in its entertainment potential.

Rating: 2.5/5


The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Origin:USA (2006)
Length:104 minutes
Genre:Action
Screenplay:Chris Morgan
Director:Justin Lin
Starring:Lucas Black, Nathalie Kelley, Bow Wow, Brian Tee and Sung Kang


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