Starring: Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Nathalie Kelly
Director: Justin Lin
Running Time: 104 mins
The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift is an American film and the third in the Fast & Furious series. After a series of street racing incidents has left him expelled from various schools, a high school student moves to Tokyo, where he once again becomes involved in the underground street racing community.
The strange thing about Tokyo Drift is that it feels like it came from completely out of the blue in the Fast And Furious series. It may be set further into the future than a simple sequel would be, but the lack of any recurring characters or settings is rather abrupt. It may impress with a slightly different story, and it feels a lot more modern and polished than the first two in the series, but with no really interesting characters to be seen, it’s a pretty dull watch.
Let’s start on the plus side, by saying that this film looks a lot better than the first two in the series. The late 90s music video style has been replaced by a mid-2000s music video vibe, with slicker, more colourful and more vibrant direction throughout, all of which goes a long way to making it a surprisingly pleasant film to look at, and one that doesn’t feel quite so dated just yet.
Also, the change of pace with the new setting and characters do occasionally make for something a little refreshing. Whilst the core of the plot isn’t all that different to the first two in the series, Tokyo Drift at least opens with some new characters to learn about and try to get interested in, and that means it’s actually a surprisingly strong starter, even if the complete detachment from the main series’ world comes as a bit of a shock early on.
Unfortunately, that’s where most of the positives end, and we see the film’s most glaring problem: the characters. Yes, there’s a whole cast of new people in this film, and it tries to do something a little different than Brian O’Conner’s story in the first two, but the fact remains that none of the new additions are all that interesting, or even likable.
Complete with generic villains that have very little substance, and a main character who’s irritating, cocky and constantly idiotic, not to mention the uninspiring lead performance by Lucas Black, there’s no real reason to be interested in this film apart from the visuals, and given that it has no real bearing to the rest of the series as I can see, it feels a little pointless and weak as a standalone.
The plot here isn’t all that great either. Once again, it does show us something a little different in the opening stages, but soon enough, it descends into another series of people parking near each other to watch other people drive around quickly. Although there are a good few car chases here, they’re played out within the context of a rather predictable and run-of-the-mill script, so whilst they may look good, they don’t do anything to get you on the edge of your seat.
Overall, I was disappointed by The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift. It may represent a refreshing change of pace in some regards, and its slicker, more polished look is a welcome improvement, but its average story and awful characterisation, as well as some poor performances, mean there’s nothing particularly interesting or even engaging about it, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.7