The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is the third movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise, and the first movie to focus on an entirely new cast of characters. By abandoning the traditional street-racing focus for a hip, techno-filmed romp through the Japanese drifting scene, Tokyo Drift takes the series in a brand new direction. That said, it’s still a film ripe with over-the-top vehicle action and silly yet endearing characters.
Can the brand new cast of characters and new focus of sub-culture bring The Fast and the Furious an exciting third entry, or is Tokyo Drift a spin-off that’s better left ignored? Let’s find out how The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift stands up to the rest of the series.
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The Film Review
The story in Tokyo Drift is completely separate from the first two movies, foregoing the story of the original protagonist Brian O’Connor for the fresh-faced Sean Boswell (Lucas Black). Sean, a high school student who has a tendency to get into trouble with cars, finds himself afoul of the police yet again after a dangerous accident. In order to keep him out of jail, Sean’s mother sends him to live with his father in Tokyo, Japan.
There, Sean quickly falls back into his racing habits, eventually joining up with a mysterious local car-collector named Han (Sung Kang) as a delivery driver. Sean collides fiercely with Han’s partner D.K. (Brian Tee), setting off a chain of unfortunate events.
Although each Fast and the Furious movie tries to bring something new to the table in order to keep things fresh, Tokyo Drift feels particularly unique with its shift towards drifting. The act of drifting fits well with Fast and the Furious; there’s a lot of e-brake pulling, shifting, and stomping on the gas.
The tightly packed streets and tiny car-garages of Japan make for interesting settings for races too, providing a unique variable to the action scenes. Some weak CGI can lessen the effect of certain shots, but the practical effects and car-stunts are still exceptionally cool to see.
The Bottom Line
Overall, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is an underwhelming yet unique sequel in the Fast and Furious franchise. It manages to keep the series’ signature charm alive with crazy car action and wacky storylines but retains some of the faults of the original two movies as well. Even though some of the characters and scenes are memorable, the general story fails to make a lasting impression.
If you're looking for a fun action flick to pass the time, Tokyo Drift can get the job done. However, if you were expecting a meaningful sequel in the Fast and Furious franchise, you'll likely be disappointed.
- Some new characters are instantly likable
- New focus on drifting is fun
- Stunts feel dangerous and inventive
- Stale storytelling and unfocused narrative
- Under-developed characters
- Poor CGI diminishes the effect of some action scenes