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The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Nathalie Kelly, Sung Kang, Brian Tee

Directed by: Justin Lin

Produced by: Clayton Townsend, Ryan Kavanaugh, Lynwood Spinks

Written by: Kario Salem, Chris Morgan, Alfredo Botello

Distributor: Universal Pictures Distribution


Lucas Black in Universal Pictures' The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Lucas Black and Shad 'Bow Wow' Gregory Moss in Universal Pictures' The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Shad 'Bow Wow' Gregory Moss in Universal Pictures' The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

     The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift tries to allow the ever-popular franchise of which it belongs to transcend the territory of mere cutthroat races and scantily-dressed women, but in doing so it defeats its own purpose. I liked the first two films in the series because they were good at being preposterous; the flashy styles of their respective directors, Rob Cohen and John Singleton, may not have been inspired, but they made for two very tight and suspenseful movies about brainless subjects. This third installment is directed by Justin Lin, the promising young director of 2003’s Better Luck Tomorrow, and tampers with the tried-and-true Fast and Furious formula. The results are utterly abysmal.

     Not only is the star-power of the lead-actor of the previous installments in the series, Paul Walker, gone—so is the exciting street-racing. Lucas Black’s performance as the new protagonist, Sean Boswell, didn’t bother me, but the absence of captivating driving sequences did. The film makes the mistake of exploring the phenomenon of “drift” racing, in which racers accelerate through courses and then hit their emergency breaks rapidly when turning to spin weightlessly. This style makes for totally bland racing sequences. Whereas the mere adrenaline generated during such sequences in the more straightforward previous films was enough to keep viewers interested, the slow-moving swervy-werviness of the “drifting” of this film is not.

     In addition, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift also tries its luck at actually crafting a plot, which is equally as unsuccessful as its attempt to take on drift-racing. It’s hard to fault director Lin for actually trying to assemble a complete entertainment-experience out of the project, but it’s equally as difficult to try and make a case that he does so well. Once the “narrative” takes Boswell to Japan, where he learns to drift, it laughably allows him to engage in a subplot in which he is tempted by a forbidden romance with a rival-driver’s family-member. I walked into the screening of the movie that I attended almost certain that it would be as welcomingly fun as its predecessors, but what I got was a muddled, un-simple mess of a movie that didn’t interest me in the least bit. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift serves as bland and boring proof that the third time is most definitely not always a charm.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (7.13.2006)

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