The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift

 
Directed by: Justin Lin
Written by:Alfredo Botello, Chris Morgan, Kario Salem
Starring: Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Sung Kang, Brian Tee, Jason J. Tobin, Nathalie Kelley
Released: June 15, 2006
Grade: C

Sean Boswell (Black) is a teenager who continually finds himself on the wrong side of the law.  There is nothing he loves more than taking his car and seeing how fast it can go.  His latest escapade though has ended in an arrest.  After challenging a classmate to a match race, Sean wrote off his car and caused thousands of dollars damage to a house under construction.  It’s the last straw for his mother who has sent now sent him to Japan to live with his dad and hopefully, straighten himself out.

His mother’s wish is not to be.  On his first day at school in Tokyo, Sean befriends a group of fellow racers.  Their style of street racing is different however.  It is known as “drifting”.  It’s a new concept to me and thankfully, it was explained by an expert at the preview screening I attended.  Drifting is the art of driving your car sideways.  To do this, you must have plenty of sharp turns.  It may sound like fun but it’s extremely hard to maintain control.

The top drifter in town is DK (Tee) and his expensive cars are funded by his uncle, a member of the Japanese yakuza.  Sean quickly becomes an enemy when he starts flirting with DK’s girlfriend, Neela (Kelley).  The two face off in a one-on-one race where DK is a comfortable winner.  Determined to square the ledger, Sean gets help from a wealthy and experienced drifter named Han (Kang).  Now that he’s mastered the craft, Sean is ready to prove himself…

Tokyo Drift is the third film in The Fast & The Furious franchise.  Paul Walker starred in the first two films but has not returned this time.  I can only think that he read the script and was as dissatisfied as I was to see it.  Why did Sean’s dad change his opinion on racing?  Why did Han befriended Sean and let him use his expensive cars?  Why did the police turn a blind eye to all this illegal racing?       

If you’re going to see this film simply for its action, then you might also be disappointed.  There are only a small number of action sequences and too much time is wasted trying to develop the nonsensical plot.

The final scene of the film sees Sean at the starting line of a fresh race.  After the words “ready, set, go” were uttered, I was off… to the exit.  I was the first one out and maintained my lead all the way to the cark park.