Friday, May 28, 2021

Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious - Tokyo Drift

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Action and stunts
Cons: Plot and characters just there for the action and stunts
The Bottom Line:
Teen heads to Japan
And finds new ways to race there
Spectacular stunts

The Fast and the Furious – High School Edition

As I’m slowly working my way through The Fast and the Furious movies, I’ve now made it to Tokyo Drift, the third movie in the franchise.  It’s an interesting stop in the franchise, but just an okay movie overall.

If you are watching these movies in release order (like I am), you’ll find this movie is almost completely a standalone.  (More on that in a minute.)  We are introduced to a completely new cast of characters when we meet Sean Boswell (Lucas Black).  He’s a high schooler who loves cars but has self-control issues.  When he is challenged to a race by his rival, he accepts.  The resulting race ends with his car totaled and him in serious trouble.

In an effort to avoid jail time, he is sent to live with his father in Tokyo.  Despite his father’s orders to avoid anything to do with cars, it isn’t long before Sean finds himself getting involved in street racing, including learning how to drift.  But his new friends are shady.  Will Sean go too far?  Will he get himself into more trouble?

This was the only movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise to not have Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner character before his death.  In fact, the only connection to the rest of the franchise is a cameo at the end of the film.  From what I’ve read, the films I haven’t gotten to yet work in the characters introduced here into the action of those movies.  In fact, it sounds like those films are set before this movie.  Gotta love Hollywood.

Then again, we don’t come to these movies expecting intricate plotting.  Let’s face it, we expect lots of racing and stunts with cars.  And we get that again here.  I’m not sure all of those stunts are physically possible, but they are fun to watch.

Which is a good thing since the plot is only so so.  It might have helped if I liked Sean better, but he seemed determined to always do the wrong thing until the end.  Fortunately, he did mature some by the time we reached the climax.  The plot holds together reasonably well, but it doesn’t really hold any surprises either.

Outside of Sean, the rest of the characters don’t get a whole lot of development.  Really, the characters and plot are just an excuse to get to the stunt driving, which is wonderful.

I don’t think I would ever pay money to see these movies in the theater, but they can be entertaining if you catch them on TV.  The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift will likely be forgotten by the day after you’ve watched it, but it isn’t a truly bad film.

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