Review: Fast and the Furious--Tokyo Drift

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Once a reviewer, always a reviewer I guess. Here's a movie review.

Score:
8.4

Pros: exciting car scenes; mad drift action; hotter chicks than the previous two movies; subtle angry-asian-man touches from director Justin Lin

Cons: they found a white guy who's a worse actor than Paul Walker; could have used more scenes with the scantily clad import models; too much talking

I stayed in the Bay Area an extra night to catch the premiere of Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and boy did I NOT regret it. If you love the series, this movie is twelve kinds of awesome. Yes the acting blows. Yes the script sucks even harder. But damn that's all just part of the appeal anyway--if you didn't get that into your head by this third movie, then you just never will get it. Stop reading now, and go back to discussing your favorite indie films with your other emo-friends over your decaf latte. Those of us who had red meat for dinner, keep reading. The F&F movies have been, are, and always will be about the car scenes and to a lesser degree, the girls. And Tokyo Drift delivers on both counts with authority.

For those who've only seen the trailer, you might ask yourself, how does a bumpkin-lookin cracka end up in Tokyo with Bow Wow trying to learn how to drift down parking structures and mountain roads against native Japanese drift champs? Is this an episode of Initial D or something? And where the heck did the dead-ringer-for-Brooke-Burke-but-younger-who-speaks-Japanese love interest come from? Pffft. Plot details. Never you mind. All you need to know is that the drift scenes and car chases in this movie are awesome and fun as hell to watch, and they come in just enough volume to keep you interested throughout the 90 minute or so runtime of the film. You'll come out of the theater wanting to fire up some OutRun or Ridge Racer. And almost as fun to watch are the sweeping, low angle camera shots of the races and parties where the movie would have you believe every other woman in Japan looks like a model straight out of Hot Import Nights, and dresses like there's a national shortage of fabric. Not that any red-blooded, heterosexual should mind, of course.

Director Justin Lin even manages to toss in a few subtle and not-so-subtle shout outs to the predominantly Asian American male viewership of the movie, like the scene where Han chides Sean about chasing DK's non-Japanese girlfriend Neela (aka Brooke Burke Jr.), "why can't you find yourself a nice Japanese girl like all the other white guys around here?" Clearly, Lin hasn't forgotten his Better Luck Tomorrow roots just yet, and while it's unfortunate he got stuck with such a lemon of a script for one of his first major Hollywood films, he certainly made lemonade out of it. Tokyo Drift is the perfect, mindless summer action flick, the kind of lightweight but engaging trifle that the film industry seems to have forgotten that us 18-35 year old males still like to see on the big screen.

PS: See if you can spot the MC Hammer poster that makes a cameo in the background of one (or more?) scene in the movie. It's like playing Where's Waldo. Except it's "Where's Hammer?"

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