Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Image result for fast and furious tokyo drift movie poster free use“Can I get a copy of that?”

This film sucks. Just want to get that out of the way.

You can shut this one off approximately ten and a half minutes in. It doesn’t get any better after that. When a film’s best scene comes that early, it spells bad news for the rest of the journey. So is the case here.

Shipped to Japan for his constant entanglement with the law, Sean is now living with his military father in a cubbyhole and being taught in a language he can’t speak, but don’t worry, we got fancy cars here, too.

I will give The Fast and the Furious series this: the more you watch these, the more you want to go out and do some of this stuff. Think I mentioned this in one of my previous critiques but it’s something that needs reminded. It has marketed an adrenaline rush, essentially, and I think most viewers are here for the thrill more than anything. I doubt anyone is coming to these for theme or dialogue.

Coming with one card to play isn’t a great strategy, no matter how great the card is. Yes, this card fulfills the need of the production studios, getting those precious greenbacks, and I suppose at the end of the day that’s what keeps these things going. If people pay, we’ll keep doing this, I guess. You guys keep making them and I’ll keep telling people why they’re a joke.

Tokyo Drift is by far the worst thus far and three films in, the same problems persist: writing, character and tone.

This franchise is a very stubborn, strong-headed kid: difficult to teach and a tough learner. They’d rather run their head into the wall than listen to what you have to say. It’s hard to empathize with such a person.

The writing here is so, so awful. It is painful to listen to, a horribly out-of-tune guitar. It hurts my head to think about. I’ve never had a tumor, so I can’t speak to the validity of this claim, but hearing Nathalie Kelley speak makes my head feel empty and twice its size at the same time. Attractiveness does not qualify you as an actress. Exhibit A.

My brain feels bloated with nonsense and starved for nutrition. Maybe I’m just hungry. Garbage thrown in your face for two hours has a way of making you feel depleted. I don’t know how much the writers were paid for this script but it was too much. There are people in high school in this country who are capable of putting together more thorough work than this. This is sellout material if there ever was any. I would not be surprised if they threw this together in a day or two. Art conjured in this way is not worth showing to another living thing. Part of creating art is editing. Rarely does a first draft become a finished product on a dime.

Art is like parenting. The initial conception and birth is miraculous, awe-filled, sometimes life-changing. It hasn’t learned to walk yet and you don’t know much about the idea, you only just birthed it, but you’re immensely excited by the potential. Then come the basic details, molding a more round-out figure. It can be very frustrating at times, this part, because you’re so antsy to get to the next stage, to see what comes next but with time you learn this preliminary work is part of the process. They’re not full-grown but you have the responsibility to shape them into who they will become. Your idea is in your control. You will make decisions and second-guess yourself. You’ll see multiple ways this story could go, write drafts, experiment with color, edit design, compose harmonies and bass lines you’ll end up scrapping. You’ll do this because you have to. You’ll do it because you won’t settle, because acceptance of standard isn’t an option.

It will challenge you.

It will grind you.

It will push you.

But it will reward you.

The building process matters.

This is art.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, specifically, the writing section, does not qualify. Such dreadful discourse, it is.

Underneath character growth, we read: learns how to drift. Yes, drifting is very cool.

Sean sounds like he came straight out of Alabama’s womb. Surely shadowing his transition into a country on the other side of the globe might come up. Family dynamics, perhaps?

Director Justin Lin gives us none of it. Mr. Hickster is just coming to Japan to race streetcars in parking lots. School and parents are for losers.

What about our antagonists? One is associated with the Yakuza, the famed criminal syndicate. Introduce some brutal elements here, scratch some sinister lingo in there. Should be easy enough.

Also a nope from Mr. Lin.

This was enough for producers though. Lin was given the chair for episodes four, five and six of the series and is currently penned for even more sequels. Would love to hear the rationale from the money men.

Lastly, tone. Tone says a lot about a person. Tone is a good talker. It communicates emotion quite well and can also differentiate someone or something in a way few other things can. Three films in and still seemingly no interest in deciding if The Fast and the Furious saga should have a tone of its own.

“We’re sticking to the copy machine here at this institution. Holding ourselves to some moral high ground is for the silly losers over at Disney.”

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (HerTakenCaptain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of Ultron)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldThe 40-Year-Old VirginThe ConjuringSinisterOlympus Has Fallen)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Ip Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull IslandThe InvitationHush)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 Furious, Doctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath RaceWind RiverTommy Boy)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsport)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift: 47.

Glad to have this one over with. It was not a fun watch. Hopefully we’re on the upswing now when I get to Fast & Furious.

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