The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

"The day I got my license is the day I got my first speeding ticket. Day after that I won my first race, I beat this rich kid by three lengths. I've gotta admit, it felt good!"   - Sean

release year: 2006
genre: racing action
viewing setting: home Bluray 12/28/16

synopsis: A kid who can't keep from street racing gets sent to Tokyo, where he quickly gets himself involved with street racing, despite not speaking the language and not knowing any of the customs.

impressions: Again, quite action-packed and entertaining, but silly at times. It's the same crap as in the other movies set in America, but it's in Tokyo and the racing happens inside parking decks, where "drifting" is vital to success. During these races, hundreds of spectators show up to cheer and dance to mindless music. According to this movie, there's a sub-culture in Japan, where pretty much any dispute or problem can be solved with a street race, especially if you can drift successfully. I'm not kidding here. Need a girl's phone number? Just drive/drift nearby and you'll eventually get it. Bored at night? You and all your friends can just drive/drift on curvy mountain roads, in perfect synchronicity. Got problems with the Japanese mob? Just propose a drive/drift challenge and you're all set. Trying to win back the girl who returned to her punk ex before just because he was mad? No worries, just beat the punk ex in a drive/drift competition and you'll have her forever, free of worries. It's like your entire social status is based on how well (or not) your last race went. Of note: this movie is chronologically displaced from the others, although that's not yet obvious. And there's a link to Dom (Vin Diesel) at the end.

acting: Lucas Black does a good job as Sean, the cocky American who has to contend with being a fish out of water. Sung Kang is the local who takes him under his wing. Nathalie Kelley is the gorgeous girl who he develops an interest in. Brian Tee is her gangster boyfriend, who's also the best drifter in town. Bow Wow is an American who befriends and helps the main guy. The legendary Sonny Chiba is the gangster punk's uncle, who rules the Yakuza in Tokyo.

final word: More of the same: fundamentally silly plot with great driving action sequences and lots of great scenery.

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