Thursday, June 26, 2008

REVIEW: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Year: 2006
Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Brian Tee, Nathalie Kelley, Sung Kang
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Although 2 Fast 2 Furious was successful in terms of money made, the movie in general feel short of the first film. The cheesy dialogue and weak story overshadowed the awesome cars and slick races. Universal Pictures decided to give the series another go after 2 Fast 2 Furious did well at the box office, but they didn't just want to make another one with the same faces and new cars. No, they wanted to start fresh and really focus on the story. In comes Tokyo Drift, a film that carries the logo, but introduces new characters. Now, I personally didn't mind this after the bad result that was the second film. I thought starting over and giving us fresh new faces was the only way to keep this franchise going, but I was going to miss some of the characters from the previous film. So when the movie opened in theaters during the summer, people thought it was pretty good. They obviously liked it better than the second film, but thought it fell short in comparison to the first.

Plot Outline:
Sean Boswell has been in trouble with the law for awhile. Hitting his third strike when racing through a construction site, he's shipped over to Japan to live with his father. Instantly on the wrong side of everything, it's not long before he's back into the racing world, introduced to a different style of racing; drifting. After losing his first race in Japan to DK, a Yakuza type gangster, he is taken under the wing of drift guru Han who helps him greatly. He also falls in love with Neela, who is the girlfriend of DK. Sean must learn to drift if he ever wants to make it to the top.

The story of Tokyo Drift is pretty good. Ill admit that I was disappointed in 2 Fast 2 Furious because the story was just weak. Going into Tokyo Drift, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. The plot is also very different compared to the previous films. Theirs no going undercover this time and no FBI. Instead we focus on the main characters struggle to learn to drift and gain respect to reach the top. Their are some cheesy dialogue like any other film in the series, but it isn't blown out of proportion like the second film. While the story isn't perfect and has some minor plot holes, it definitely comes in a close second with the first film still being the best. But like I said with the previous films, these type of movies aren't meant to be taken seriously because in the end, its the cars that count and Tokyo Drift doesn't disappoint. We get a good amount of street racing with exotic import cars that all look really nice. We also get some good explosions and great car crashes.

The cast for the movie is also good. Sure we don't get anyone from the previous films coming back for this movie, but what we have here isn't bad by all means. Lucas Black plays as Sean Boswell and hes the main character for this movie. He does a good job in his role and gives a much better performance than Walker did in the second film. Bow Wow plays as Twinkie and hes like Boswell sidekick in a way. He surprisingly does a pretty good job and wasn't distracting like I thought he would be. Brian Tee plays as DK and hes a good choice opposite of Boswell. I thought he gave a good performance here and one that felt good to watch. Nathalie Kelley plays as Neela and I think she gives a better performance here than Eva Mendes in the 2 Fast 2 Furious. Shes pretty hot and fits the movie nicely. I felt the cast in this film gave a better performance than the cast in the second film and your in for a surprise at the end. When I said we don't get anyone from the previous films returning here......I kind of lied.

The previous films looked great and truly demo worthy for a DVD. That trend continues here because Tokyo Drift looks wonderful. Being the newest one in the series, Tokyo Drift benefits from a clean source. Their wasn't any grain and everything looked nicely clean. Colors are alittle darker this time around. Tokyo is no Miami and most of the film is during the night. Still the colors look great and the city of Tokyo is lit very good. Lights and building all look good and have color popping out. The color black is very inky the way it should be. I felt like I was watching the game Project Gotham Racing 3 the movie. Detail is great and the city is very much alive. Everything has nice textures in clean form and it looks great. Cars show alot of detail with every single one of them looking awesome. This is another demo material from Universal and one that looks really good for a standard def DVD.

The soundtrack in this film is just as great as the picture. The score is composed by Brian Tyler who also did Constantine. I wasn't really blown by the score in the second film and I feel mostly the same way in this film too. I still think the first film had the best score with this film coming in second. The film also has many other music playing through out the movie. These music are mostly consisting of rap and hip hop with alittle more hip hop. They sound good and fitting for this movie, but I think the music is alittle too much in this film. The bass is no disappoint and its just as great as the previous films. Cars driving and crashing roar with the bass and it really is something to behold off. Its nice and dynamic with that special "kick" in it. Its definitely something that's going to put your system to the test. This is easily demo worthy for someone trying to test their surround sound.

I really wasn't expecting anything after the disappointment that was 2 Fast 2 Furious, but I was pretty surprised. I thought this movie was better than the previous film, but comes a close second compared to the first film. The story feels more real and is something new for the series. The cast is good and doesn't leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. The visual look of the movie is just as great as the previous films, if not more cleaner. The soundtrack is good although the music feels like its been used too much. Bass is top notch and easily makes this demo material. I enjoyed this movie for what its worth, which is a car smashing mindless action ride. I hope the fourth film in the series which is planned to release next year, stays on this path. Id definitely check this film out for fans of the series and those who want some entertainment on a boring Sunday afternoon.

Grade: C

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