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

Charles Rector's Weblog; Aug. 8, 2011; By Charles Rector
Type: Review


This is a rough draft of a review that will be posted in final form in Sept. along with a review of Fast Five.



Of all the movies that constitute the Fast and the Furious series, the third installment entitled “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” is the single best one. Whether or not that is much in the line of praise is squarely in the eye of the beholder.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift opens with a teenager named Sean Boswell (played by the 24 year old Lucas Black who clearly does not look like a teenager) who has gotten himself in big trouble with the law. The police have videotape of the incident and they can put him in juvenile hall with the other, ummm, teenagers. However, the district attorney’s office strikes a most improbable plea bargain with Sean’s mother in which they agree to deport Sean to Tokyo to live with Sean’s estranged father.

Upon arriving at Tokyo, Sean Boswell discovers that things are rather different than what he expected. For one thing, everyone in Tokyo that he encounters speaks perfect English irregardless of their educational background. Likewise, all of the teenagers that he encounters are not played by teenaged actors, nor do they look like actual teenagers. Additionally, he soon finds some kindred souls at his new school who are similarly reckless and who share the same love of urban racing that he has. One of these friends is even a token black, so the diversity angle is covered.

Once Sean Boswell has made some friends amongst the Japanese youth, he gets introduced to one of the more idiotic Hollywood cliches. This is the bit about the instant expert who upon discovering a native tradition, an outsider who is the subject of a movie immediately knows more about the subject than any of the natives and is immediately more proficient in doing the native tradition than any of the natives. Movies where this cliche is most prominent include “Gymkata,” “The Challenge,” “The Last Samurai,” and the TV miniseries “Shogun.”

In the case of this flick, the native tradition in question is called “drift racing.” This entails driving your car sideways at high speed, often skidding at the same time. In other words, Sean Boswell has gone from law breaking in America to breaking the law in Japan.

Eventually, Sean winds up in even bigger trouble than ever. This leads to a most unusual solution. A drift race between Boswell and his adversary with the loser being forced to leave Tokyo forever. Surprisingly, Sean Boswell’s father thinks that this is an excellent idea and commits himself to helping soup up his son’s racing car for the big event.

The end result of all this is a flick that is incredibly goofy and ridiculous. It works in keeping the audience entertained despite all of the implausibilities in it. The movie is every bit as much a summer fun flick as the two previous “Fast and the Furious” movies. Despite the sum total of the goofiness, or perhaps even because of the goofiness and implausibility, “Tokyo Drift” comes well recommended as a movie to rent and perhaps even purchase.

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