Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Movie Review: "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" (2006)

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Movie"The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"
Director: Justin Lin
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

A high school student named Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) is forced to move to his father's home in Tokyo after getting in trouble by doing an illegal street race. In Tokyo at his new school, Sean meets Twinkie (Bow Wow), who introduces him to Tokyo's world of drift racing. 

This is the film that almost killed "The Fast and the Furious" franchise. With none of the original cast returning for it, other than a very brief, uncredited cameo from Vin Diesel at the end of the movie, this film was practically set up for failure. Producers figured the excessive amount of cars and an over-saturation of drift racing would be enough to carry the movie on its own, and boy, were they wrong. At the time of its production, "Tokyo Drift" was the most expensive in the "Fast and the Furious" series at $85 million, and the only one that failed to make back its budget at the domestic box office, bringing in only $62.6 million (only). Luckily, or maybe unluckily, a strong enough global box office saved the series from certain doom. We can certainly see why this movie was a bomb. Besides the lack of any of the original cast members, the story itself is pretty much nonsensical and everything throughout the entire movie is absolutely contrived and flimsy at best. This includes the shoddy acting by newcomers Bow Wow, keeping with the "at least one rapper per film" rule, and Lucas Black, which we will get into later. As we mentioned in the review for the previous installment in the franchise, "2 Fast 2 Furious," people don't go see "The Fast and the Furious" movies for their deep, thought-provoking plots, but the writers could have at least tried to put together something a little more coherent.

Sean Boswell, played by Lucas Black, is supposed to be about 18-years old in the movie but looks more like he is about 30 in real life. Sean is a kid who was forced to move from place to place with his mom, never lasting anywhere for very long because he's a troublemaker. With a thick Southern accent (neither of which his parents have) and speaking no Japanese, after an altercation with some richie rich douchebags in America, he is sent to live with his dad in Japan and is placed in a school that only teaches it students in Japanese. On his first day of school, within 5 minutes of meeting Twinkie, he demands Twinkie let him drive his one-of-a-kind, completely stupid looking Hulk car, complete with dented-out smash marks because, you know, the "Fast and the Furious" movies are known for their continuity. Sean gets to this underground drift race, and after a confrontation with a man named D.K., or Drift King, Sean demands a race even though he has no car of his own. No worries, though! A guy named Han will give him a car, which Sean proceeds to wreck, no questions asked. No worries, though! Han will give Sean a job so he can pay back the damages. Sean needs a car to do the job he was given by Han. No worries, though! Han has another car he can willingly give to Sean so he can do the job. Sean needs to learn to drift. No worries, though! Han will let him practice and proceed to damage more of his cars until he learns how. Sean's boss Han has been skimming money from the Yakuza. No worries, though! Twinkie will give Sean some cash so he can convince the Yakuza boss to let him race his nephew D.K. in a loser leaves town race......wait, what? Why? How? I have known some of my friends for decades and none of us would willingly let another person damage our car without repercussions and that's just the least of our complaints! Every plot point this film has is beyond stupid and ridiculous. On top of this, every conflict in the film is stemmed from two cro-magnon characters who perpetuate the alpha male chest puffing stereotype because someone dared talked to their female property...oops, we mean their girlfriends. Seriously, you think we're kidding? The first race of the movie happens because Sean gets into an altercation with a jock at school, and the jock's girlfriend is willing to let herself become the winner's prize, regardless of the fact that she already has a boyfriend. Wow, she sure loves him, huh? Sean and the jock cruise for a chance to be with this girl, showing not only the repeated attempt by the franchise as a whole to begin every. single. film. with an male dick swinging contest, but the repeated attempts at objectifying women, which seems to be upped ten-fold in Tokyo. The film's only saving grace is the cars and the racing, though some of these scenes get tedious and for some reason, drifting isn't as intriguing to watch as regular car races. If we mentioned in the last review that "2 Fast 2 Furious" was the worst of the franchise, we forgot how bad "Tokyo Drift" was.

And by the way, if you think this movie is the third in the series, you'd be wrong. Speaking from a continuity standpoint, this is actually the 6th out of 7 total films in chronological order. Don't ask us why, don't ask us how, we're tired of thinking about this movie.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36%
Do we recommend this movie: No.
For our review of "The Fast and the Furious," click here.

For our review of "2 Fast 2 Furious," click here.

For our review of "Fast & Furious," click here.

For our review of "Fast Five," click here.

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