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  Publicity Stills of "The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Action
Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Brian Tee, Sung Kang, Jason Tobin, Nathalie Kelly
RunTime: 1 hr 44 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: PG

Release Date: 3 August 2006

Soundtrack: "THE FAST & FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT" Soundtrack Review

Synopsis :

Sean Boswell (Black) is an outsider who attempts to define himself as a hot-headed, underdog street racer. Although racing provides a temporary escape from an unhappy home and the superficial world around him, it has also made Sean unpopular with the local authorities. To avoid jail time, Sean is sent to live with his gruff, estranged father, a career military-man stationed in Tokyo.

Now officially a gaijin (outsider), Sean feels even more shut out in a land of foreign customs and codes of honor. But it doesn't take long for him to find some action when a fellow American buddy, Twinkie (Bow Wow), introduces him to the underground world of drift racing. Sean's simple drag racing gets replaced by a rubber-burning, automotive art form-with an exhilarating balance of speeding and gliding through a heart-stopping course of hairpin turns and switchbacks.

On his first time out drifting, Sean unknowingly takes on D.K., the "Drift King," a local champ with ties to the Japanese crime machine Yakuza. Sean's loss comes at a high price tag when he's forced to work off the debt under the thumb of ex-pat, Han (Kang). Han soon welcomes Sean into this family of misfits and introduces him to the real principles of drifting. But when Sean falls for D.K.'s girlfriend, Neela (newcomer Kelley), an explosive series of events is set into motion, climaxing with an ultimate high stakes face off.

Movie Review:

With or without the existence of Vin Diesel or Paul Walker, The Fast and Furious series remained a whole barrage of mindless fun. The latest instalment “Tokyo Drift” is a good example of that. Maybe it’s the cars, maybe it’s the babes or maybe it’s the culture.

Helmed by director Justin Lin (“Annapolis” and the upcoming “Oldboy” remake), “Tokyo Drift” continues the underground racing culture that adored many but this time round instead of LA, the action bits are shifted to the obsessively neon-lit Tokyo streets. Besides that, neither Diesel nor Walker is around to fill up the eye candy portion. To fill up those big shoes, Lucas Black (who played bit parts in movies such as "Cold Mountain" and "Jarhead") and rap prodigy Bow Wow are enlisted. Black resembles a young Mark Wahlberg with those sneering looks and “I’m-so-pissed-off” face. And Bow Wow snagged that usual partner-in-crime role as Black’s buddy.

The story follows Black who plays Sean Boswell, a hot-headed young man who ironically was sent to Tokyo to avoid the laws in his native home. Unfortunately, he gets himself tangled with the underground racing world and to make matters worse, falls in love with the girlfriend of the local racing champ here in this adopted country. Throw in the infamous Japanese triad, Yakuza and it sounds eerily familiar and straightforward, liked those many Hollywood productions set in the land of the rising sun. And did I mention someone by the name of Sonny Chiba is involved.

In an apparent attempt to distract the audience over the feeble plotline, Lin assembled a massive automobile orgy consisting of the best racing cars ever (the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO and Nissan Skyline just to name a few) and also orchestra sequences of hair-raising racing stunts down the streets of Tokyo. There’s nothing more exciting than watching those glaze stunning metallic horses performing “drifting” (if you have watched last year “Initial D”, you will know what’s drifting) and executing high-risked turns and spins. Maybe by introducing a smell machine in the cinema halls to accentuate the smell of burning tires might further enhance the experience.

For the record, the Fast and the Furious series are never known for its story. The first instalment directed by Rob Cohen was a no-holds-barred metabolism overdosed affair and somehow it propel a certain bald guy named Vin Diesel and Paul “not known for his acting chops” Walker into superstardom. The second by John Singleton goes into even further absurdity, as if racing down the streets is not enough, we have a stunt involving a car crashing into a boat in the finale.

Fortunately, Lin knew the constraints and limits of the Fast and the Furious franchises and stick to the demands of the audience. There's even a nice surprise cameo throw in. The colourful world of underground racing is always fascinating to the daily mundane worker liked you and me for instance. Like the tagline says, speed needs no translation. And neither does it need words.

Movie Rating:

(Cars and babes: The definitive lethal combination for any hot-blooded young men)

Review by Linus Tee

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