Let the mind drift

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Starring Lucas Black and Sonny Chiba. Directed by Justin Lin. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0

For those out of the loop (sort of like me until inundated by the promo material for this film), “drifting” is a unique contribution by the Japanese to the generations-old tradition of outlaw racing by disaffected youth. In this case it’s a tweak on racing developed on the serpentine rural mountain roads where the back-ends of the lightweight cars slide into the curve in a controlled drift as they shift gears and ratchet the hand brake through sharp turns. It made its way to the parking structures of the city and I’m sure with the release of Tokyo Drift, despite the end credits warning against amateurs trying this sport, it’s about to hit the U.S. mainstream.

If you build the parking structure, they will come. Yee-haw.

The third entry in The Fast and the Furious franchise doesn’t let up on the throttle. This time around we’re given the biggest loser of the series, a grits-talkin’ white-trash hellion (Lucas Black) who just plain can’t do anything right: He and his divorced mother hopscotch across the country because the boy can’t stay out of trouble with his motorheaded ways. Unfortunately, after his latest automotive mishap, his Ma has to perform a little quid pro quo action with a local cop to keep him out of juvie (he’s also the oldest-looking high schooler since Steve McQueen in the original Blob), and with a bad taste in her mouth, sends him off to be with his estranged father in Tokyo.

Of course, the boy is soon introduced to the underground world of drifting and to the underworld of the Yakuza, as our muttonheaded hero immediately hits on the girlfriend of the nephew of a local gangster (Sonny Chiba, oh yeah!). I told you, the kid ain’t too bright. But, of course, he gets the drift just in time for the big climactic race. Gotta follow the template, y’know?

Director Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow) merges plenty of Japanese action tropes with a Western sensibility, with lots of eye candy of the feminine and of the vehicular sort and a speaker-rattling soundtrack to match. This one is all about shutting off the brain and letting the adrenaline wash.