A Film Review By Jason L. King
| Starring: Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Zachery Ty Brian
Directed By: Justin Lin
Rated: PG-13 for reckless and illegal behavior involving teens, violence, language and sexual content.
A few weeks back, the theater I work at was running pre-show ads for the movie, The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. I laughed as the makers of the film were quoted saying, “There has never been a movie about drifting before.” I joked with my co-workers that it is true that there has never BEEN a movie about drifting before, but the more important question should be: Do wee really NEED a movie about drifting in the first place?
Lucas Black, star of Friday Night Lights tries to keep the Fast and Furious franchise going with this new film chronicling the lives of illegal street racers. Lucas plays Sean, a high school kid who has bounced around from school to school with his mother and always ending up on the wrong side of the law. But when his mother can’t take it anymore she sends her gear head son to live with his military father, who is stationed in Tokyo, Japan. Suffering from culture shock, Sean stumbles upon a group of people in the Tokyo underground who share his love for cars. He becomes friends with a group of street racers who practice drift racing.
I feel so dirty saying this, especially since I will openly admit that Lucas Black is close to the likes of Paul Walker on my most annoying actors list, but Tokyo Drift was not that bad. If you go into this film expecting shiny, fast cars and cool stunts, this film delivers. The film has everything a viewer comes to expect from a film in The Fast and Furious franchise; a group of good looking gear heads with a ton of money who settle every score possible on a race track. The characters are one dimensional cut outs that don’t really have any in depth when it comes to character development, but it’s not needed for this script. It was meant to be a high octane visual departure rather than any thing with deep meaning or character development. Unlike 2 Fast and 2 Furious Director John Singleton, Tokyo Drift director, Justin Lin, tapped into the idea of no character development and just fast cars and cool stunts and came up with a great escapist film for the average car lover or teenage boy. I would even have to admit, I enjoyed Lucas Black in this role. He played the pretty boy “bad ass” quite well. You could actually see him be that guy in real life, rather than just a frat boy wanna be bad ass. If you are wondering if I can give you an example of the wanna be, just take a look at Paul Walker in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Unlike Black who plays it cool in Drift, Walker spent 2 Fast 2 Furious strutting around in his West Coast Choppers shirt just hoping that viewers would take him seriously. Unlike Walker, Black was able to act just enough to make his character believable.
Before you go out and see Tokyo drift, Be forewarned, this film has a cookie cutter plot, cardboard cut out like characters and requires some suspension of disbelief to completely enjoy. Is this film worth your trip to the theater? The answer is not at all. If you’re a fan of the Fast and Furious series check it out on a rental. If you enjoyed the first film and hated 2 Fast 2 Furious, check it out. But if you have no idea what I’m talking about, save your money. All you’re going to get is a 2 hour fast car stunt show. Some people refer to that as great entertainment, others would call it a waste of film. I’ll leave it up to you to decide- I’m just saying for what it is, it’s not that bad.