On this fifth day of the Fast & Furious week, I will discuss the film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Tokyo Drift is made in 2006 and therefore the third-made film. However, storywise, the film takes place between the sixth and seventh film and is because of this a strange film in the franchise. The plan was to make a new storyline with new characters at a different location. But the fans didn’t like the plan, so after a few bad test screenings Universal Pictures asked Vin Diesel to make a cameo appearance to boost its box-office. The film might have a typical street race, the impressive drift races are the ones you should see!
Chronological, Dom and Brian are enjoying their freedom after they have dealt with Owen Shaw in London in Furious 6. Han however, has left the team to go to Tokyo. This is where the story meets Tokyo Drift, where Han meets Sean Boswell and becomes his drift tutor. Sean is a troubled teenager who loves to race, but after a car crash he needs to move to Tokyo and live with his father in order to avoid juvie or even jail. While trying to adapt to his new life, he becomes friends with Twinkie who is really into cars and drifting. Sean also loves cars and he used to race in the US, but he doesn’t know anything about drifting. Nevertheless Sean challenges the best drifter, called Takashi / DK (Drift King), but loses and the car Sean lent from Han is completely destroyed. To repay his debt for the car, Sean must work for Han and eventually they become friends and Han starts teaching Sean how to drift. Halfway through the film, a money issue between DK and Han results in a street race through the street of Tokyo. Then suddenly Han gets hit by an unknown driver.
It took three films for us to find out who was responsible for Han’s crash, which is also when the sixth film ends and Furious 7 is about to start. Because of this terrible event, Sean proposes a race against DK to determine who must leave Tokyo. It might be pretty predictable that this final drift race has a positive outcome for Sean, but who cares. This drift race through the mountain is pretty impressive, and even more when you realise the race is performed by professional drivers and was not CGI. After Sean’s success he got challenged by someone who want to race against him. This is where Vin Diesel’s character pops up. Like I mentioned in the intro, the film ends with a cameo of Vin Diesel’s Dom.
The biggest disappointment of the film was the absence of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel. The studio felt Walker was too old and wanted to start a new series with Lucas Black’s Sean Boswell. However, Black wasn’t convincing as a teenager. He did play his part well and the racing scene’s looked amazing, but the story felt too childish. Organise a race to see who gets the girl and gets to stay in the city, instead of some undercover mission to take a bad drug criminal down. In my opinion, this is what the Fast & Furious franchise is all about, not some troubled highschool teenagers. The best part of the film is therefore the final drift scene, also because the camera work is just terrific!
Tokyo Drift is definitely an entertaining film, which reminds a bit of The Karate Kid from 2010. A guy who moves from the US to an other country with a very different language. To adapt he dives into a popular ‘sport’ to make him look cool. In this case the ‘sport’ is drifting. You just should forget about Paul Walker and go with the flow. See the film as a stand-alone-film. I did thought it was amazing to see Lucas Black portray his character Sean in Furious 7 and interact with Dominic Toretto.