Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Drifting, the style of racing which The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift focuses on, requires drivers to continually slide their cars around corners at breakneck speeds. This technique allows the brave drivers to take corners much faster than usual speeds, delivering audiences fast paced races in tight quarters (such as parking garages and winding mountain roads) along with plenty of crashes.

And that brings us to Tokyo Drift, a film about high school student Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) who learns the meaning of three strikes and youre out after getting busted for street racing a third time. To curb Sean of his racing ways, the boy is sent to live with his father, Lieutenant Boswell (Brian Goodman), who is stationed in Tokyo. Seans parents hope that the change of location will break him of his street-racing habits, but that would make for a pretty boring movie; instead, within twenty-four hours, Sean becomes involved in Tokyos underworld of drift racing while picking a fight with DK (a member of the Japanese mafia) and flirting with his girlfriend at the same time. Fast and furious, indeed.

Sean finds a few allies in Han (DKs partner in crime), Twinkie (another displaced American, played by rapper Bow Wow) and Neela, DKs girlfriend. After wrecking one of Hans cars while learning to drift, Sean goes to work for him as a debt collector. Before long both of them end up on DKs bad side, and before the end of the film honor has been disgraced, friends have been betrayed and people have been killed all of which can only be solved by (of course) only one thing: a race.

Tokyo Drift is full of plot holes so large you could drift a dozen cars through. Seans ability to pick up the Japanese language as well as navigate his way through Tokyo upon his arrival is quite amazing (I get lost every time I visit Chicago and at least there the signs are written in English!) Seans attraction to Neela doesnt make much sense when, as Hans sidekick, we see the two of them hanging out in a string of exclusive Tokyo clubs filled with international fashion models who ARENT involved with psychotic, violent Mafia members. And then there are the cars themselves, which continue to smash against one another at high rates of speed, often not even leaving a scratch. On the other end of the spectrum, my Chevy Avalanche has a small dent in my car from a rogue shopping cart. I wont even get into the American muscle car with the Nissan engine, sure to make the skin crawl of fans from either camp.

All of this, however, is simply fluff gobbledygook draped over the films half a dozen or so race scenes. Drifting fans will appreciate the level of detail in which the races are covered, down to every gear shift, clutch stomp and hand brake grab. If import racing is more important to you than plot (and really, by the third movie in a series you should know what to expect by now!) then The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift could be the film for you. Theres enough of a plot to keep the story moving from race to race, the cars look nice, and its really not much dumber than either of the first two films.

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