"The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo
Directed by Justin Lin ("Better
Written by Alfredo Botello, Chris Morgan and Kario Salem.
Starring Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Nathalie Kelley and Brian
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 6/20/06
Ahh, I still remember going to see the
original "The Fast and the
Furious"...and, sticking around for the end credits, to watch
our boy Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) drive off into the sunset.
Man, I still have a soft spot in my heart for that movie, mostly
because I have always admired movies that give you exactly what they
are for 90 minutes and nothing more; has any film over the last few
years done so much with as little as these films? They are
simply about cars, hot soundtracks, speed and ridiculously-awful
acting. (Although, I will admit, the performance by Tyrese in
Fast 2 Furious" had an outside shot at the Oscar a few years
So, when I saw the first trailer for "The
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" (alternate titles: "Crazy
Fast, Super Furious" or "Even Fasterer & Furiouser"), I was fired
up. I knew that even Paul Walker--who can thank the first two
productions in this series as the only bankable moves of his
career--had bailed on the third movie, so who the hell would take
the reins for the third go-round? How about Lucas Black?
Fresh off of...well, nothing, really, Black scored the role of
wayward 18-year-old delinquent Shawn Boswell, who starts off in
California when the film opens by wrecking his car and getting a
third strike violation with the DMV, which cancels his license.
Shawn's mom sends him off to live with Dad...who lives in relative
seclusion in a tiny zero-bedroom flat in Tokyo (and shamelessly
enjoys the company of Japanese whores, judging from our first
meeting with him). It takes Shawn exactly six minutes of
additional screen time to get adjusted to living in Japan, complete
with being able to read a map of Tokyo in Japanese (uhh, yeah), and
wham!, wouldn't you know it?, Shawn pops up on the underground
street racing circuit, thanks to his new Negro friend, Twinkie (Bow
Wow; yeah, I can't believe his character is named "Twinkie" either).
There are about a hundred reasons to leave
the theater at this point, but you didn't show up for the story,
anyway...you showed up for the cars. This go-round, good vs.
evil is actually evil (Shawn) vs. REALLY evil, a criminal named the
Drift King for his massive skills drifting souped-up Nissans around
tight corners on super-soft racing slicks in parking garages and
dangerous courses all over Tokyo. The Drift King runs some
kind of back-alley racket through his rich uncle (Sonny Chiba, WAY
too big a star in Japan to be appearing in this horseshit); because
the third film features exactly zero cops, we never really
understand what any of the crime here is, anyway. Doesn't
matter. Director Justin Lin gives us a steady dose of hot
Japanese schoolgirls, badass car detailing and stunts, hilarious,
God-awful dialogue--honestly, I've been repeating the Shawn line
"That's a lotta money" in his thick Southern drawl all week--and a
cameo from Our Man Vin to wrap things up. "Tokyo Drift" is a
lot of fun if you show up knowing to check your mind at the front
desk; once on autopilot, you can soak in the sights of Tokyo and try
to forget that you just dropped $10 to see what will certainly be a
leading candidate for the Razzies later this year.
Of the three, "2 Fast 2 Furious" is probably
the best overall film; John Singleton's direction of that
film--fused with better-looking cars, women (Eva Mendes & Devon
Aoki, you still haunt me), and acting than the other two
movies--makes that one a solid action/comedy film that is worth
watching over again. But, wash this last sequel down with a
glass of milk and all is forgotten...and, hopefully, this will be
the last one in this series before someone else rips off the
concept, which will certainly happen any day now.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard