April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Furious Fridays: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Continuing our epic rewatch and coercion into getting Tom to watch The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

tomk: Fast and the Furious 3: Season of the Witch

jimmy: Lol, excellent start!

tomk: Is this supposed to be a high school? These guys look too old even by TV and movie standards.

From left to right: First Fluffer, Token Female, Charlie Brown, 35 year old high schooler Hayseed McGillicuddy, Benicio Del Toro cosplay enthusiast, Bow Wow, Second Fluffer.

jimmy: That’s gold, brah.

Ms. Impossible hated it and I fully expected it to be absolutely awful and it was…ok. Not great, but better than I remembered. And it was interesting to revisit the movie that made Lucas Black the huge star he is today.

tomk: Well, the final race was well done, so it’s a good thing director Justin Lin is sticking around. But really, aside from the car stunts, there isn’t much of anything to note in a movie where the main conflict seemed to be whether or not a guy with a terrible Southern accent could figure out how to drift.

jimmy: I kept wondering if they made drifting up for the movie. Probably not. I’m not interested enough to find out.

tomk: It was an awful silly thing for every Japanese character to really care about drifting.

jimmy: Kinda like in John Wick: Chapter 2 where every spoiler in spoiler is a spoiler.

tomk: We’ll take that up in the John Wick discussion when Chapter Three comes out or in the Ryan-free zone.

jimmy: Besides the cameo at the end (which I believe Vin Diesel agreed to do to get the rights to make the Riddick sequel) there isn’t a lot of ties or universe building in this one. Which is too bad, because I like Han, and we’ll never, ever see him again.

tomk: Han worked well in his solo appearance.

jimmy: Heh. Nicely done.

tomk: I was impressed Dom drove his getaway car to Japan. That’s quite a feat.

jimmy: You’ll see in upcoming movies they can get cars just about anywhere.

tomk: The trailer for the new one shows them trying to outrace a submarine. I think I can believe that.

jimmy: When we were watching this, Ms. Impossible asked, “How did they manage to make four sequels after this?” I responded, “Hard to believe isn’t it? But the answer is, they brought back the original cast.”

tomk: Ah yes, the electrifying screen presence of Jordana Brewster.

ryan: You know what’s kinda amazing? The hardest of the hardcore FF fans try to fit this into the timeline by having it take place later in the series. Which usually doesn’t work in terms of certain aspects of the movie or pop culture references. But here, it does. The cars are all classics or older, modified street cars. So they don’t show their age like a normal car would in a movie. And then there are some pop culture references–but they had the incredible good luck to pick stars that lasted. Justin Timberlake. Beyonce. I mean, just from a dialogue perspective, those lines worked taking place after FF6.

jimmy: I noticed that the pop references were still very relevant today.

tomk: I was too busy wondering how many years Lucas Black got left back if he was still in high school.

jimmy: Well, he was only 24 when this movie was made.

ryan: The kid from Home Improvement looked even older.

jimmy: He was much older. 25.

tomk: I just pretended he was still the same character and he learned everything he needed to know about machines from Tim the Tool Man Taylor.

jimmy: The main female character was 21. Bow Wow was 19. DK, Han and the most of the others weren’t supposed to be in high school any more.

tomk: Shockingly, DK was 16 during filming!

jimmy: At the very least, we learned that Justin Lin was a good director. He’ll be around for the next three films.

tomk: He is. Despite a terrible plot and awful characters, the action was fantastic.

ryan: Agreed. Han’s final race and the mountain race are amazing sequences. As fake as the slide at Shibuya Crossing was it was still breathtaking. And the cell phone gimmick on how everyone watched the final race was incredibly clever. Even if it breaks the timeline with all those flip phones.

Also, I really like the theme song. It’s one of the most distinctive movie themes in a long time. Even if it’s total fluff. Maybe because of that.

jimmy: The phones actually bugged me. Are you telling me in 2006 everyone could watch the race on their flip phone? And what were they watching? There were no cameras, were the people at wherever the racers were streaming while the others were watching and then switching as the race passed them?

ryan: Exactly. It’s Tokyo. They have fly tech cuz.

Oh wait. Sorry. Started talking like the second movie.

tomk: Gaigin dog.

ryan: But the sequence setting up the cell phones was very slick. Zooming between the flip phones showed you this scary course and set up how the people in the bottom watched. Clever.

tomk: It was clever. A real action star was born with this movie…behind the camera.

ryan: Also something I never realized. Sean and Neela never kiss. The most action they get is intense gazing. Interesting choice.

I think they kissed in a deleted scene but I need to watch those.

jimmy: Do you really need to Ryan?

tomk: His name was Sean? I think I prefer Hayseed McGillicuddy.

He sounded like a guy doing a bad Watson impression.

jimmy: There are good Watson impressions? Certainly not the ones he leaves on the ladies.

tomk: Clayton’s is the gold standard.

jimmy: The movie had a lot of great aspects aside from the story and acting.

ryan: Other interesting note: Han’s motivations are a bit lacking. Why double cross Yakuza? It’s almost like he’s depressed and *wants* to die. Which actually makes sense put after 6. That’s pretty cool too.

jimmy: I think you are reading too much into crappy writing that just happens to work out later. And we need to be careful of spoilers here. I’m sure Tokyo Drift wasn’t written to wedge in between 6 and 7. They just got some lucky breaks and did some nice retconning after Brian sold his soul to Mephisto to save Mia.

tomk: So, he didn’t sell his marriage to save his 106 year old Aunt May?

jimmy: You’ve got him confused with someone else.

tomk: Right. That was Ronald McDonald in the darkest ad campaign McDonalds ever ran.

jimmy: There were some clowns involved, no doubt about that.

ryan: Ff9 will definitely have clown cars.

And I agree it isn’t intentional, it’s just cool that it worked out that way. That isn’t easy.

tomk: Did it bother you guys that there were no heists in a Fast and Furious movie?

jimmy: Not really.

ryan: The first one had heists in the background but wasn’t really about that. Same here but just a bit less. Second movie was the first real heist film. They hadn’t really latched onto heists as their core yet. It had the same level of car-ness as the first two so it fit.

Plus drifting. And drifting is pretty cool. At least compared to drag racing and precision street racing. I’ve seen cool stuff like it over at Low Offset.

jimmy: Against my better judgement I watched the deleted scenes and the kiss is in there. Post the final race which has a slightly different series of events.

tomk: Someone joined the race in a blimp?

jimmy: Skymaster strikes again!

tomk: That guy gets around…in his custom racing blimp.

ryan: Of course it’s custom. Can’t expect to win in a stock blimp.

tomk: That’s what I keep telling Jenny.

ryan: I thought it would be fun to do a rolling List of Truth for the series that we’ll include in each write-up.

The results will have our rankings for the overall movie, the action in the movie, and the plot of the movie.

No surprise, with the first three films it’s fairly close to the release order. Our Overall and Plot rankings exactly match the movies with the original being the best and Tokyo Drift being the worst.

In the action category, however, we have some variance. Tokyo Drift takes the top spot followed by the original and then 2 Fast 2 Furious needing to turn over its pink slip.

Action surprised me honestly. While I can understand the others, I think the action sequences in the first movie don’t hold up as well. There’s really only the bungled heist at the end that’s remotely interesting, action wise. The opening could have been interesting but it felt too manufactured for me (cars going under the truck when there was no need–compared to the bungled heist when there WAS a need to pass under the truck).

tomk: I don’t think John Singleton had as good an eye for action sequences as the other directors.

jimmy: Yeah…I might have short changed Tokyo Drift in the action category thinking about it again, but it still won.

That shot where they drift through the crowd was awesome.

tomk: The action, Han, and a cool soundtrack were all Tokyo Drift had going for it. It certainly wasn’t an ode to responsible parenting.

ryan: None of them are odes to responsible parenting. Which makes it worse when the kids get involved in the story.

tomk: Also, reckless driving is a deportable offense…

ryan: I haven’t watched the behind the scenes, but was the crowd drift all CGI people? It was pretty seamless, which is impressive for 2006. But they did have some things going for it (long shot at night so the people are mostly shadows).

jimmy: I don’t know Ryan. I couldn’t find anything about it with a quick search, but this is kinda cool: Although actor Brian Tee plays D.K. (a.k.a. “Drift King”) in the movie, the real-life drift king, Japanese racing legend Keiichi Tsuchiya, makes a small appearance as the fisherman in the blue jacket who makes fun of Sean as he’s learning to drift near the fish market. Tsuchiya himself performed most of the scenes of Sean learning how to drift.

ryan: Oh yeah, I remember reading about that a while ago (the real drifter being the fisherman). I thought it was odd that they gave a couple of lines to some random watcher when they could have easily been said by anyone else already in the cast so I looked it up.

jimmy: Any final thoughts?

tomk: I don’t regret watching this one, but I don’t think it was all that memorable either.

ryan: As the weakest link in the franchise, this still isn’t a horrible movie. It’s also a bit easy to discount since it’s mostly a separate film, but it’s better than all the prequels.

jimmy: Even Rogue One?

ryan: Ehhhhhhhhh, I’ll give a nod to RO. It wasn’t exactly a prequel. I guess Tokyo Drift is kinda the Rogue One of the FF universe. Sidequel.