The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Lucas Black, Zachery Ty Bryan, Bow Wow, Damien Marzette
Alabama teenager Sean Boswell becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.
Eye-popping driving sequences coupled with a limp story and flat performances make this Drift an adequate follow-up to the previous Fast and Furious installments. Strictly for the racing crowd and fans of the first two films.
  • Universal Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 16 Jun 2006 Released:
  • 26 Sep 2006 DVD Release:
  • $62.5M Box office:

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Surprisingly good - Sung Kang steals the show7/10
I'm getting the feeling that the majority of reviews here as of June 14th are bogus. Why write a review if you've only seen the trailer for the film? Anyway, I had the opportunity to see this movie yesterday. Yeah, this is the one of those film series people will hate before seeing. It's over the top, has cheesy dialogue, and has an unlikeable protagonist. With that said, it's actually pretty entertaining, and isn't all that bad.

We are introduced to Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), a high school kid who can't seem to find his niche in life. He's moved from town to town with his divorced mother, and getting into problems with the law, before finding himself in Southern California. The California scenes pay homage to Justin Lin's earlier film, Better Luck Tomorrow, almost feeling like an extension of that film. We see the crowds of students in the courtyard, almost peripheral to a particular point in time. Moving to California doesn't change anything, and Sean, the outsider, finds himself racing Clay (Zachery Ty Bryan, from Home Improvement), a rich kid who has it all, including a brand new Dodge Viper.

In trouble with the law yet again, Sean finds himself moving to Japan, for reasons that aren't particularly clear. We don't know exactly why he *had* to move; however, it doesn't really matter anyway.

Sean continues to find himself as an outsider. From his distant father, to his language barrier, to being unfamiliar with traditional customs. Unlike other particular American films, the culture of Japan was portrayed in a positive light. This was particularly refreshing, as the food jokes, Engrish jokes, height jokes, etc. have become very tiresome over the years.

Sean meets Twinkie (Lil Bow Wow), and Han (Sung Kang), the latter of which appears to be the same character from Better Luck Tomorrow. Both Twinkie and Han serve as guides or mentors to Sean, as he becomes more familiar with Japan, school, drifting, and its associated group. In retrospect, Twinkie seems like an unnecessary character, and quickly gets shelved to Sung Kang's Han, who steals the show like a pimp.

Sean also meets, and is attracted to Neela (Nathalie Kelley), who is the girlfriend of DK (Brian Tee). DK is a nickname for "Drift King." Sean quickly realizes this as he loses badly to him in his first race in Japan (and smashing up Han's S15 badly). The altercation between Sean and DK heats up leading to the climax of the film.

Sean Boswell is an unlikeable character. His mannerism is interesting during the California scenes and you actually do get to like him, however he quickly outwears his welcome. From his unjustified temper, to his grating southern accent, Han becomes more of the likable protagonist.

The dialogue was cheesy as hell too (remember the "I'm free" line from the first one? This is worse - the moonlight drifting scene is embarrassingly bad).

Character development is too hurried at times, much like this review.

As with Kill Bill, Sonny Chiba is as charming as ever, this time playing a Yakuza boss, who happens to be the uncle of DK.

Now, the racing scenes were actually not that bad. Compared to the outlandish effects of the first two FF films, Tokyo Drift is pretty understated.

Racing-wise, this was a vendor-fest. 350Z's (VERY prominently displayed), RX-8's, and an EVO. Other than that, there was an R34 GT-R, S15, and the Veilside RX-7. That's really about it (with the obvious exception of the Mustang). I think I saw a glimpse of an AE86 hatch.

Will it make people drift in the parking lot leaving the theatre? Yes. In fact, I saw some guy in a Camry attempting to do so.

Will it spark interest in the vendor-sponsored cars? Probably.

Will it increase resale value of your S13 or AE86? Probably not.

Finally, there are two notable cameos in this film (among others). The first cameo has to do with "DK" (not the film character). The second cameo ties the film to its predecessor. Both appearances were pretty well done and drew laughter from the crowd.
Not a bad film considering it was a Part 38/10
Usually when a film has a Part III, it leaves you with, "Why did they make a third film?" Case in point, "Smokey & The Bandit". Now I am dating myself if that's the only film I can come up with when it comes to trilogies. But car movies are seldomly done in trilogies. Star Wars, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future are the only exceptions that have worked in the past because there's an on-going story line.

Tokyo Drift was a good film. Good plot line (if you disagree, then you're a "Too much to think" film-goer, stay with chick-flicks then). Good action. And of course, cool cars. The fact that it strayed away from Part I & II was a good idea. And film director, Justin Lin did an great job getting his vision to film. The mounted camera on a super-fast go-cart gave some spectacular shots.

It's a good escape film with the "new kid in town, gets beat up or loses in some sort of competition, learns from a local to be better then wins in the end." But for a trilogy film it's excellent compared to other Part III films that have been released.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is far better than I expected - but I had low expectations. Enjoyable but not critically appealing6/10
I was quite surprised by The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. Of course, I expected it to be a pile of steaming garbage, particularly with the formula of increasingly dodgy sequels. So when I went to see it with some friends, I had obvious misgivings. These misgivings, or at least the worst ones, such as the movie being unbearable to even look at, were fortunately unfounded. I kept my eyes on the movie the whole time, mainly because of the souped cars, but the fact that I went through the movie without flinching (a lot, except at some of the bad dialogue that was prevalent), says quite a lot. Maybe my view of The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift is heightened by the fact that I cracked a few jokes during the movie.

Now down to business. Sean, a 'dude' who loves to race at high speeds for no apparent reason, is sent to Tokyo to live with his military dad and ends up being drawn to the racing circuit again, witnessing a new style of race called 'drift' (as seen in Need For Speed Underground, to those that don't know). Sounds stupid? Well, it is, the casual viewer can detect a plothole or two from even reading those two lines. To go on, except to state that Sean ends up making friends with a guy named Han, is pointless. I will admit that no-one looks for a good plot in a Fast and the Furious movie, but still, the less said, the better.

The dialogue, as I stated, can be funny - because of its stupidity. This is shown by one piece of dialogue where some guy asks Sean: "You know what DK stands for?" and Sean replies "Donkey Kong". At least its original, I guess.

The acting is OK - far from turgid, which I expected it to be in the first place. The guy who plays Han is surprisingly good, going through the movie without looking as if he was hired from a nearby sushi bar. Brian Tee as DK is a bit of a joke, he is more comedic than menacing. Lucas Black is OK as Sean, but his Southern accent makes his character more irritating to watch. The love interest does well as eye candy. That's about all that matters I guess.

The most important part of The Fast and the Furious is inarguably the racing sequences and their overall effectiveness. I will admit that the sequences themselves are well-filmed and eye catching, highlighting the cars, as they should. However, except in a few fleeting moments, they are not as enthralling as they should be and this is one of the most disappointing aspects of The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. The final confrontation, for me, is pretty good to watch, but only arouses the senses once in a while.

Time didn't drag though, which is a clear sign that The Fast and Furious is indeed quite watchable, despite its other pre-eminent faults. I admit that I didn't really get bored during the film, which may lead to my rose-tinted view of it (compared to my original perception of what it would be like).

So let me summarise my thoughts: "Didn't expect much, got more than I bargained for." The acting is satisfactory (for a racing film, otherwise it would more or less suck), the plot and the dialogue are predictably terrible, the racing sequences are satisfactory and the cinematography is somewhat effective, with frequent close-ups of the cars. What compels me to give The Fast and The Furious a (relatively) favourable rating is the fact that it is, like I said, quite watchable. However, it is still little more than satisfactory, so it's rating cannot therefore rise above:

3/5 stars (If you don't like cars the rating is obviously much lower)
Much better than the others.8/10
Got a free screening pass to see it 6-12, saw it with some car buddies, the dork I am took notes.

This movie had more semblance of a plot than the rest of the franchise, the action stayed fresh and actually flowed with the plot, and the characters actually had motivation this time! There weren't any HUGE glaring inaccuracies (other than daddy throwing sonny the keys to a car with NO ENGINE in it...) The three cameos in the film were well placed, though a bit campy at the very end. The cars and action sequences were amazingly choreographed, one even leaving my whole theatre clapping for the protagonist.

I give 8/10 because of low expectations, and being totally blown away when it was much better than I expected.
The Cars do the talking.5/10
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Directed by Justin Lin Starring: Mitsubishi Evo 9, Nissan Silva, Ford Mustang, RX 7, Toyota Chaser, Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Nathalie Kelly, Sung Kang, Sonny Chiba

I think the Mitsubishi should get a best actor nomination for next year's Oscars.

Nice cars. Nice music. Nice bodies. Nice cityscape.

Brainless story. But that's what I watched it for, to have my brains parked outside the cinema and let the brainlessness drive me through a two hour entertainment.

The RX7 has more expression than all the actors.

C - Because it served its purpose in entertaining me with awesome drifts, over-sized exhaust pipes, and kick butt photography for a car racing film.