Take the Karate Kid Part II, replace the karate with cars, and you have The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Now that may sound like a bubblegum movie (not life-impacting, but good while it lasts, then spit it out, and move on), and it is. That’s okay, because it knows it, and it works.
This film is not out to fool anyone, nor is it out to win any awards. It’s fast cars, fast driving, big crashes, a pounding soundtrack, and beautiful women. Grab some popcorn, and enjoy the ride. Not having seen the first two installments will not keep you from enjoying the majority of this film, though I can assume that the brief appearance of Vin Diesel in the final scene was an homage to the predecessors, and left me with enough curiosity to rent them.
In this outing, our perpetually-in-trouble hero (Lucas Black who possesses a Wahlberg-type quality) crashes his car, surprisingly the writers only have him break the camel’s back metaphorically, and he gets shipped off to live with his career Navy dad in, you guessed it, Tokyo. He adapts amazingly fast, because this film is not about character or story development. It’s about driving fast and wrecking cars, and it takes him one day to get himself into exactly that.
What he is not able to adapt to is what the locals call “drifting,” which is a style of driving where the car slides. During that first race, he meets a girl, gets a job, makes friends and enemies, all while drifting a car into just about everything possible. Now that’s a screenplay!
Yes, it would have been interesting to get a bit of insight into the business that our villain and his uncle were in. Yes, some of the direction did not allow us to fully appreciate the bigger car races, but neither of these things kept the film from being an enjoyable escape. All the positive aspects including no nudity, and only one scene with foul language, far out weighed the few minuses.
Recommendation: If you are looking to dive into a pool with a lot of depth, this is not the one for you, but if you are okay with kicking back in the kiddie pool for a few hours, than rush fast and furiously to Tokyo Drift for some of the best brain candy of the movie season thus far.