The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

| June 17, 2006

Bad acting. Check.
Atrocious Dialogue. Check.
Forced subplots. Check.
Annoying rapper sidekick. Check.
Ridiculously awesome driving scenes. Check.
Opening action scene with the older brother from Home Improvement. Check.
The best way to describe this unnecessary sequel is a cheesy Karate Kid on wheels. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is the third in the franchise (wait, did I just say franchise?) and surprisingly isn’t the worst. Tokyo Drift is better than the previous installment, and is definitely the year’s first awesomely bad movie.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I am a fan of the first flick of this trilogy. It had a serviceable story and phenomenal racing scenes. It helped launch the Diesel’s action career (Vin Diesel for all you Amish people). In 2 Fast 2 Furious, we learned Tyrese can’t hold Diesel’s jock, as well as the film completely sucking. So obviously this third installment is watered down by now, but it is not without its fun moments.
The plot has been done more than Pamela Anderson. You know, that cowboy with a checkered past that overcomes adversity to beat the bad guy, get the girl, and come out on top. Shawn Boswell (Lucas Black) is the cowboy, who has been sent to live in Tokyo to live with his uncle. He quickly succumbs to the underground racing circuit, and finds himself mixed up with the Yakuza (Chinese mafia) and wanting to bang the bad guy’s hot girlfriend.
The subplots are boring, forced, and unimportant. The real flaw here is the film actually tries at times to stray away from the formulaic nature. No one cares about the relationship between Shawn and his Uncle. All the characters are two-dimensional. Now that doesn’t really matter unless you bog the story down with lame scenes trying to develop these cardboard cutouts into something other than that. The result is a few yawns, but mostly laughter. The dialogue is hilariously bad. During a chase sequence in the opening scene, the cars race side by side and Shawn winks to the other racer’s girlfriend, who responds by saying, “Looks like I got myself a new boyfriend”. The boyfriend responds by yelling “Shut up, you. Shut up”. It had the theater rolling, including myself. Besides being filled with awesomely bad dialogue, the film has hilarious examples of how not to use the sweeping camera. Shawn stands on top of a hill, looking down at a racetrack, and the camera sweeps around him about 5 times almost in parody-type fashion. The film tries so hard to be cool, you can’t help but laugh. My personal favorite was a two minute montage of them building the American muscle car. It should be categorized as action/comedy.
The best scenes come at the very end, during a sweet sequence that square off the hick-ish hero against the Yakuza bad guy. The action scenes in the film are damn good, the drifting being outrageous. Vin Diesel makes a surprise cameo at the end of the film, which climaxes in sequel-like fashion. You definitely don’t leave the theater wanting 4 Fast 4 Furious. It is more like, they should have stuck with the first one. The movie is cheesy fun, and definitely worth downloading.
Grade: 2 stars out of 5

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