I've seen this movie before...but it had rollerblades.
How can this happen? Now don't get me wrong, I like Tokyo Drift (probably because I liked Airborne when I was 12, even though it was trounced by critics), but it seems like Lin and company lifted a lot from a goofy teenage comedy/romance flick. Although circ*mstances are different, Lucas Black, as southern boy Sean Boswell, becomes the fish out of water, landing in Japan. He quickly finds an ally in Twinkie, played by Bow Wow, who is basically a stand-in for Seth Green's Wiley. It's amazing--they both have disticnt hair styles, Twinkie wih his braids, and Wiley with his awkwardly long hair that screams "puberty made me crazy, and this is the proof!" And then Sean starts talking to the pretty Neela, here played by the incredibly cute Nathalie Kelly. This angers DK, her boyfriend (finally, a difference!...sort of) and he threatens Sean to stay away from his girl. Of course, this results in a competition where Sean has to prove himself, but instead of a hockey game, a car race is the proving ground (difference!). Of course, Sean fails miserably (um...not a difference) because of the fact that he doesn't know how to "drift," a method of driving utilized by the Japanese racers. Will Sean get his respect back, and end up with the girl? I won't tell you explicitly, but if you read the first paragraph, you should have a pretty good idea.
Again, tongue-in-cheek comments aside, I did enjoy Tokyo Drift. The story was formulaic, but the actors played their parts well enough for me to care about what happened to most of them. Takashi, aka DK (which stands for Drift King) was a good villain. Brian Tee, who plays DK, gives the character the right amount of arrogance and attitude to be the perfect privileged douchebag. Sung Kang, as Han, is very good in the role of Sean's mentor. Bow Wow I can take or leave. Listen, I like some rap, but I don't like most rappers turned actors. As a matter of fact, if the word "Ice" doesn't appear in the rappers name, I usually ignore the movie (Tupac gets a passing grade for GridLock'd. Ditto Eminem for 8 Mile). The problem is that Bow Wow didn't really act, he was just himself, which is boring. Regarding the two leads, Black and Kelly, they were both very average. Nothing special or awful about either performance. A big shout out to martial arts movie-star Sonny Chiba, who played DK's uncle and Yakuza leader Kamata. Anytime Chiba is on-screen, I watch. Even if you don't know who he is, there is a good chance you have seen him in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Chiba was Hattori Hanzo, the man that gave The Bride the sword that was used to kill the Crazy 88's and their leader O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) as well as my beautiful Gogo (Chiaki Kuriyama).
But I digress back to Tokyo Drift. Obviously the main draw in this film are the cars, and how good they look in racing. This is where the movie shines. Visually it is brilliant to watch, as the movements of the cars is striking to watch, to the point of exhilaration.
Overall, I found Tokyo Drift to be a pleasant diversion for about two hours. I don't know if I like it more than the first F&F film, but I damn sure like it more than the second. I just can't watch that film all the way through. When Tyrese is one of your leads, you know the movie has problems (Plus Luda isn't acting, he's just being himself. It's that rapper thing again). But i still can't believe how much Lin took from Airborne. Did he do it on purpose? Or was it an accident? These two questions I considered for a far longer time than anything from the movie. Oh well. Perhaps one day I'll get an answer. Perhaps I'll stop caring after this sentence is completed.