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     Volume 1 Issue 7 | September 17, 2006 |


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Movie Review

The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift

Shamma M. Raghib

Genre: Action, Crime and Thriller
Duration: 1 hr. 44 min.
Starring: Bow Wow, Lucas Black, Brandon Brendel, Daniel Booko, Zachery Ty Bryan,
Director: Justin Lin
Release Date: June 16, 2006
Rating: PG-13
Campus rating: 6/10 (for all that vrrrooom noise)

VROOOOMM…CRASHHH…. Is all that makes my girly heart race! The newest Too Fast, Too Furious movie: Tokyo Drift is out and kicking (I beg your pardon …drifting)! For those of you unfamiliar with drifting, it's the effect witnessed when a car attempts to take a turn that's been approached too fast and enters over steer - the back end "drifts" and the driver can maneuver the corner at high velocity. It's become quite a phenomenon in Japan - albeit not on the crowded streets of Tokyo - and here, it provides some truly dramatic photography.

Enter Southern bad boy Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), whose repetitive reckless driving forays provide an escape from a troubled home life (because hot-headed street racing is a perfect solution to parental separation). When the police catch him, his mother sends him to live with his father in Tokyo. Like all good dads, Sean's father asks him to never be near a car, to be a good boy coming home from school early. But, who listens when “racing is in every guy's blood”?

Sean meets Twinkie (Bow Wow) and soon entangles himself with a cool underground racing gang led by Han (Sung Kang), who teaches him the fine art of drifting. The story takes us through the Tokyo streets, huge racing garages, race workshops and loads of VRROOOM and CRRRAAASH! The however, things get complicated when Sean falls for the apparently beautiful Neela (Nathalie Kelley) and angers her Yakuza-connected drifting boyfriend, Takashi a.k.a Drift King (Brian Tee). And this leads to further actions, which result in catastrophic damages of public properties and cars! Literally!

I'm certainly no expert on the in-roads of Tokyo, but if it is in fact, the type of city where street gangs utilize high-performance motor cars in repetitive drifting face-offs through crowded squares, back alleys and parking garages amounting to knowingly flagrant traffic violations void of any police intervention, I'll watch comfortably from my seat at the TV screen, thank you very much. The impacts of the characters are clearly avoided in this movie. However, the race scenes are beautifully shot (night time mountainside drifting in particular) and ingeniously staged. It's all about cars, drifts and more cars! Lin's filming of the race scenes are intense and well-paced without the audience ever really losing an idea of where the cars are in relation to each other due to overzealous editing. Thus the film relies a lot more on real and believable stunt driving than FX-enhanced, laws of physics-defying over the top action - only a good thing as far as I'm concerned. And that is what earns the movie a pointer!

Bow Wow plays as a sidekick in this movie, adding a few humorous moments of his own. Nathaline made me wonder I could've done better in her place. Kang plays it off quite well and Lucas Black's bad-boy smile certainly makes him good-to-go for the movie. The other uninteresting characters can make you want Vin Diesel back and there is a taste of him in the end. The pounding musculatures of electronic musical and at times Japanese sequences are good enough to encourage purchase of the soundtrack.

Once you get over the disappointment that they didn't call the sequel Fast3r And Furious3r! It is actually pretty enjoyable! And if you love cars, get yourself a copy today!


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