Friday, April 14, 2017

Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

The third installment in what was once the Fast and the Furious trilogy was a near total reboot with new characters and a new location. Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) is a troubled teen whose mother ship's him out to live with his military father in Tokyo. He encounters Twinkie (Bow Wow) who introduces him to the underground street racing culture of Tokyo. He flirts with Neela (Nathalie Kelley) and is challenged to a race by D.K. (Brian Tee). Loaned a car by Han (Sung Kang), Sean is introduced to drifting and the complication of trying to make the tight turns of this Japanese racing style. He destroys the car, loses the girl, and finds himself in debt to Han.

Forced to carry out chores for Han, Sean makes a deal where he can learn how to drift as he familiarized himself with the underworld of Tokyo. Han takes him under his wing but there is trouble brewing with D.K.'s illegal business. With the help of Twinkie, Sean practices the art of drifting and attends his Japanese high school. The bully Morimoto (Leonardo Nam) is part of D.K.'s crew and beats up Twinkie before Sean steps in to stop him. 

Sean learns to drift and steadily improves but finds himself in trouble when flirting with Neela gets him beat up. Han has been secretly steeling from D.K. so when D.K.'s father, a Yakuza gangster, informs him of the theft, it set off a deadly race through the city streets. Han is hit by a seeminlgy random car that will come back around in later sequel and dies. Without Han, Sean is forced to payoff the money that Han owed and challenges D.K. to a race on a dangerous mountain road with plenty of twists and turns to drift around.

Sean supes up his father's American car and uses that to take on D.K. in  a climactic final race. D.K. Flips his car and Sean goes on to win the race. As the new drift king, Sean attracts a unique challenger that turns out to be Dominic Toretto, hinting at yet another sequel in the series. This episode added the unique thrill of drifting around tight corner that brings a whole new dimension to the street racing. 

This third film copies a familiar story of a white man going to a different culture and dominating at a new skill after training to the point of becoming even better than those who have grown up practicing, but this series has never been known for its uniqueness. The movie has some pretty terrible acting but decent enough drama to move the plot forward and justify the crazy drift racing. In my opinion, it's the worst of the seris but still an entertaining enough film. 

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