The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Sean Boswell (Black) is an outsider who attempts to define himself as a hot-headed, underdog street racer. Although racing provides a temporary escape from an unhappy home and the superficial world around him, it has also made Sean unpopular with the local authorities. To avoid jail time, Sean is sent to live with his gruff, estranged father, a career military-man stationed in Tokyo.
Now officially a gaijin (outsider), Sean feels even more shut out in a land of foreign customs and codes of honor. But it doesn't take long for him to find some action when a fellow American buddy, Twinkie (Bow Wow), introduces him to the underground world of drift racing. Sean's simple drag racing gets replaced by a rubber-burning, automotive art form--with an exhilarating balance of speeding and gliding through a heart-stopping course of hairpin turns and switchbacks.
On his first time out drifting, Sean unknowingly takes on D.K., the "Drift King," a local champ with ties to the Japanese crime machine Yakuza. Sean's loss comes at a high price tag when he's forced to work off the debt under the thumb of ex-pat, Han (Kang). Han soon welcomes Sean into this family of misfits and introduces him to the real principles of drifting. But when Sean falls for D.K.'s girlfriend, Neela (newcomer Kelley), an explosive series of events is set into motion, climaxing with an ultimate high stakes face off.
The Fast and the Furious franchise starts over without any of the actors from the first two films. The second one made do without the manly chrome dome of Vin Diesel, but the third one wonít even have Diesel replacement Tyrese to help audiences connect the dots. But itís still about fast foreign cars painted in lime green colors, so theyíre keeping the F&F title.
Subbing in for the departed Paul Walker is Lucas Black, a guy whoís made a name for himself standing next to names like Billy Bob Thornton, Nicole Kidman, and Peter Sarsgaard. Thatís not to say heís a spare, heís proven heís got talent. In fact, if youíre bringing him in instead of Paul Walker, Iíd call that an upgrade at the position. For The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift all heís really got to do is sit behind the wheel of the car, and anyone can do that.
While Lucas Black may be an upgrade, Tokyo Driftís director isnít. FF2 was directed by John Singleton, one of Hollywoodís most respected filmmakers. FF3 is directed by Justin Lin, the guy responsible for Annapolis, one of 2006ís worst cinematic abortions. The rest of his filmography doesnít get much better. Ever heard of Spotlighting? Better Luck Tomorrow? Shopping for Fangs? Me neither.
In the end, it probably doesnít matter who is in it or who is making it, the popularity of the Fast and Furious films has nothing to do with acting or story. Itís all about the cars, and thatís something Tokyo Drift will have plenty of. Set this time in the neon lit streets of Tokyo, the change of environments should present some interesting visual opportunities for the franchise, prowling the Tokyo streets is bound to be more interesting than hanging around in another Los Angeles ghetto. For fans of the Fast and Furious films, thatís enough. They donít care about anything beyond tanks of nitrous. What ever else Tokyo Drift has, itíll definitely have that.
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release Date: June 16, 2006
Starring: Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Brian Tee, Sung Kang, Jason Tobin, Nathalie Kelly
Directed by: Justin Lin
Produced by: Neal H. Moritz
Written by: Chris Morgan, Kario Salem
if you're excited for The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift