The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) – Full Speed into Unintentional Hilarity

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“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” is unintentionally hilarious. There are some good things this film does, which I will get into. It is better than “The Good Son,” but that isn’t saying much. It also has problems “The Good Son,” doesn’t have. The reason I chose this film is because a good friend requested on my facebook like “The Good Son” (I’ll be making my way through the other bad films and ones you request). Fair warning I have never had any desire to watch any of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise so this is the first of them I have watched. I don’t know if the others are better or worse and I am only taking this movie on it’s own.

Before I get into the review the premise is a high school student from Alabama named Sean gets into a stupid race for a football player named Clay’s girlfriend (Women as trophies…WHAT!)…which leads to a lot of property being wrecked. This leads to him going to Tokyo to escape going to prison to stay with his Dad. From here he introduced to the underworld of racing and the story unfolds as another stupid rivalry starts with a nephew of  a Yakuza boss named DK.

Without further ado, here is the assessment:

Pros: The Cars – I’m not a car person but these cars do in fact look lovely. They are fast and seeing the races are fun in a visceral sense. Just like video games of racing are fun as well. It is essentially watching that as a movie on the few actual good scenes.

The music – I was surprised how much I liked the music. It is electronic at some points and has some catchy rap on other scenes. This make scenes that drag because of the acting actually bearable.

The cinematography – This film was shot really well. You can tell the director Justin Lin loves cars and racing because it captures the tension of both those things amazingly.

Okay: Han – The character Han who (Spoiler) get’s killed by DK for stealing from him and is best friends with the lead is the only interesting character who isn’t either boring or a dick. He postulates freedom against society at one point in regards to Japan which is actually kind of neat…he is the only person with motivation…which is why I won’t put him as a con. Sung Kang is the best actor in this entire film.

Cons: The characters – Like I said before everyone is pretty much one dimensional or props (The women). DK is needlessly cruel as is henchman which leads no reasons why the main love interest Neela would even like him. Neela is all (don’t get involved) but than wants him to get involved. Twinkie played by Bow Wow should not act. He is comic relief in this entire thing and ends up playing up the White Savior trope with Sean who is flat and is one of the worst actors I’ve watched in any film. The races didn’t mean anything at the end because the only good character was dead and all the rest were so bad that they meant nothing to me.

Machismo/Sexism – This one has to have a thing here because the try and fail to address this through Neela. Every women in this picture is a trophy to be won. They aren’t characters they are things…and worth less than the cars in most cases. Can’t stand that…poor storytelling for pointless action. Meant to look pretty and nothing more, like the cars…but the cars are active units at least. They get broken and reborn and remade. They help the hero succeed. None of the women do. They are usually two faced in this film and just after the fast vehicle. This film has nothing good to say about women…

The ages – The characters are supposed to be in high school but they look like they are in their thirties…clearly no thought went into casting…but that isn’t saying much since no thought went into this film.

White Savior Trope – This movie takes place in Japan but the only Japanese hero dies. It’s like “The Last Samurai” this way but worse. Sean saves the day and in the end Vin Diesel from the other films appears to race him…so Japan is literally just a location and means nothing except the Yakuza in regards to the film. I would have liked at least one Japanese character to survive and be more than a prop or a villain…but that doesn’t happen. It is all about Sean…the weakest character of the entire film who is from outside who saves the day and gets the girl…who like at the beginning has become a trophy. Why even have this movie in Japan plotwise? Anywhere in Europe or the U.S.A. would have worked just as well and avoided this problem a little more.

The action in this film was enjoyable but if you aren’t going to have fully fleshed out characters and not treat people like human beings than what is the point? In the end you accomplish nothing but playing a nice racing game. This is a movie I’d recommend for the laughs because the acting is just that terrible and it shows you a lot of “What not to do,” in regards to casting and script writing. Visually it is great and some of the music is good, but that is about all I can say for it positively. Was recommended as a bad movie for a reason and it has earned that spot. A movie needs more than visuals, it needs story and characters.

My final score for this film is 4 / 10. So bad, worth one watch and if you like cars go check out some of the races and chases from the film on youtube.

 

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