June 22, 2006

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The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (PG-13)
Cars slide sideways in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, a movie that features cars sliding sideways.

Which is what “drift” is.

And now you know 85 percent of the plot.

Tokyo Drift is difficult to discuss, not just because most of the film is about how cool it looks when snazzy souped-up cars slide sideways but also because the only other entertaining thing in the movie happens at the very end and it would be unfair to spoil it for you. Suffice to say that if you can manage to see only the last two minutes of the film without having to sit through any of the other 102 minutes, that would be ideal.

Before that final scene, we have to suffer through the juvenile delinquency of Shawn Boswell (Lucas Black, who looks about 15 years too old to be playing a teenager). He has a floozy mom and after several impressive moving violations (speeding, causing rich kids to crash their fancy sports car, etc) he’s sent to live with his disinterested dad (Brian Goodman) in Tokyo. Yeah, because an American kid pretty much allowed to run free in a foreign country can’t possibly get into any trouble.

Naturally, Shawn’s in Tokyo about six seconds before he befriends the kids who race cars and the aforementioned drift. Shawn instantly picks up a love interest (Nathalie Kelly), a mentor (Sung Kang), a little buddy (Bow Wow) and a blood enemy (Brian Tee), who is creatively called the Drift King.

Race, fight, race, fight, some kissing, race, fight, speech about standing up for oneself and doing what is right, big race, two minutes I can’t tell you about, the end — that’s about how The Fast and the Furious flows. Even the cheesetacular acting of Paul Walker (the newbie of the first movie and driving force of the second movie when Vin Diesel abandoned the franchise) would have added some welcome flavor to this angstfest-on-wheels. Instead, we get flat, earnest The WB-style acting from all of the pretty, dull characters and a plot so tired it should be on No-Doz. D


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