The first fifteen minutes of Justin Lin’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is better than the entirety of 2 Fast 2 Furious and more than half of the original The Fast and the Furious. Unfortunately, Chris Morgan’s script slowly degenerates into nonsense after his main character, played by Lucas Black, travels to Tokyo. I won’t even mention the plot contrivances and conveniences that precede this trip in a police station evolving a football player, his girl, a police officer and Lucas Black’s character. These could have been overlooked and forgiven if it wasn’t for what happens in Tokyo. Once Black arrives in the New York of Asia, he is soon introduced to the underground racing scene in that city by rapper Bow Wow.
Let me propose the most aching and salient question that presents itself after we are brought into this off-the-books racing circuit. If you build an eighty-five thousand dollar high performance, street racing car, would you voluntarily lend it to a complete stranger who is not of your race/culture and is “fresh off the boat” to see if he has the smallest iota of racing skills? You don’t know where he lives, who he is, whether he has a driver’s license in your country or not, what his money situation is, whether he’s ever been behind the wheel of a race car before or if he’s ever been behind a wheel period. He could be an undercover FBI agent on loan to the Tokyo police department to break up the very underground racing circuit you’re giving him a ticket into. He could be a car thief that once the race begins; he drives off the race course and backs the car into a waiting truck. The truck goes to a chop shop where Black is paid thirty-five thousand dollars for the car; he takes a taxi to the airport and gets on a plane back to America, never to return. How does Sung Kang, the person that lends Black his car, know he wouldn’t do this? Maybe Kang’s character (Han) was in on the writing of the script and already knew that Black’s character (Sean Boswell) is an honest guy. That’s the only rational explanation I could come up with that fits the available facts.
This also happens to be the most irrational plot point out of all The Fast and the Furious films. It defies even movie sense (common sense’s celluloid replacement). You know, movie sense, that thin veneer of reality that permeates here and there within the confines of a preposterous premise. That isn’t even present during this section of the film. Even if you have six similar vehicles at home, as Kang’s character does, he isn’t rich and a nearly hundred thousand dollar car isn’t a trading card. This robbed what came after it in Tokyo Drift of nearly any credibility.
Everything else in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift: the token, “mom’s a whore” hot chick, the subplots, the superfluous characters, the “surprise” cameo and the soundtrack of music you already have, are generic and things you have already seen before. I recently acquired a copy of Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak’s Initial D, another movie about street racing and drifting in Japan. I haven’t watched it completely yet, just bits and pieces, but its impossible that it could be as contrived as Tokyo Drift dares to be. One closing thought: Why does everything have to be settled with a car race/chase battle in The Fast and the Furious films? Just because the movies involves the racing world doesn’t mean everything has to be settled with screeching tires and asphalt.