RETRO-REVIEW: ‘The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift’ – The One About Han

“One car in exchange for knowing what a man’s made of?
That’s a price I can live with.”

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The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift first started its life as the odd-one-out in the franchise. With a completely new cast, it looked to freshen up the series and have it meet the older ‘crew’ in a sequel.

Instead it drew mixed reviews and almost emptied the tank.

FF33That’s not too say it’s a bad film! Maybe review isn’t the best word in this case, as the film comes completely into its own when installed into the engine that is the Fast & The Furious franchise.

For the first time I’ll mention the Director. While parts 1 and 2 had very apt Directors in Rob Cohen (The Skulls, xXx) and John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, Four Brothers),it is the Director of the third film that becomes integral to the franchises evolution from a film that celebrates car culture, to becoming an action-packed, balls-to-the-wall blockbuster series.

And his name is Justin Lin.

FF34In The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, Lin directs Lucas Black who steps into the lead role as Sean Boswell. Playing a rebellious, motor-loving teen, Boswell is sent to Japan to live with his father. Here he falls in with ‘Twinkie’ (Bow Wow) who introduces him to the world of Drifting.

Getting on the bad-side of ‘DK’ (Brian Tee), he becomes indebted to Han (Sung Kang), DK’s business partner who sponsors Sean’s need to race.
Falling for DK’s “girl” Neela (Nathalie Kelly), Sean wraps himself around the world of Drifting while learning of respect and honour, and that to race is to do so for something important.

The introduction of Drifting to the series highlights how in-tune the series was to the culture. This final-style, representing its last play during its mainstream-stay before it went back to the enthusiasts and lovers of motor-oil.
And while the cast do their part, with a wonderful chemistry between Black and Kelley, the stand-out comes in Kang as the character Han-Seoul-Oh who commands the screen with his ‘cool’ and ‘mystery’. So much so, that not only is his character the one that ties Tokyo Drift to the other films, but with his return in the sequels that come after it.

With Lin’s eye for action, with wonderful colour-use and energetic camerawork, Tokyo Driftis very much a fitting film for the franchise.

When you place it in its now true-home of being the 6th movie, its exciting to think of what will come next.

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“Life’s simple. You make choices and you don’t look back.”


 

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