Wasn’t it just yesterday that The Fast and the Furious raced across our theatre and soon after took the checkered flag on DVD in our own living rooms? I guess not, because Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is upon us, and it’s the third and least imaginative of the franchise. Unfortunately, none of the previous films’ characters return for this third outing. I don’t count the clever little cameo that serves as the film’s coda. Gone are also the cool American muscle cars that gave the franchise its edge. The souped …p autos this time around don’t stand out beyond the bright paint jobs. Lucas Black is quite one dimensional as a teen who has been busted one too many times street racing. He’s forced to move to Japan where his father is stationed, where he pretty much takes up where he left off. This time around the film concentrates its energy on a driving style apparently popularized in Tokyo called drifting. Hence the name. Drifting is the ability to make sharp turns by basically sliding sideways. Boy, that can’t be easy on the tires.The trouble is, the maneuver is pretty boring to watch. It might better please the figure skating crowd, but not the hard core NOS driven racing nuts that seek out these films. The only character worth caring about is Twinkie (Bow Wow), the fish out of water ghetto kid on the streets of Tokyo. The love interest this time around is a gangster girlfriend, Neela (Kelley) but she shows about as much emotion as the cars. And it’s the cars where this thing quickly runs out of gas.
Tokyo Drift is presented in original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Though the film is uninspired, this print certainly is near perfect. Colors fly at you in the clever paintjobs. The dark side of Tokyo is revealed through excellent black levels and wonderfully rendered shadows. Contrast is as close to realism as you’ll find in a non-HD disc. There aren’t any print flaws or compression problems to take away from this sharp presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is every bit as sweet as the video. The mix employs aggressive use of surrounds so that cars appear to be coming at you from everywhere. The hip hop soundtrack is a bit loud for my taste, but it certainly is dynamic and clean. Sub action is near constant. Dialogue somehow never seems to get lost in all this noise. A solid audio performance all the way around.
Justin Lin provides a fast paced audio commentary. There’s a ton of stuff to get from him if only the film were worth the effort. You’ll learn pretty much every aspect, from casting to engineering the cars to the real art of drifting modeled for the film.
Twenty minutes of deleted scenes add little to the story. You can listen to Justin Lin tell you something about each if you like. More cars and less talking here would have been nice.
“Drifting School” The skill of drifting had to be taught to the actors before filming. It’s a short feature and a little entertaining to watch these guys attempt to master drifting.
“Cast Cam” This is one of those actor diary type productions as various cast and crew goof for the camera.
“The Big Breakdown: Hans Last Ride” What’s amazing here is the integration of practical and visual f/x during the film’s climatic race scene.
“Tricked Out To Drift” Admit it. This is why you’re even thinking of seeing this film or buying the DVD. It’s all about the cars. OK. Drifting sucks, but this piece is all about the machines.
“The Real Drift King” Who’d have thunk it? Apparently a cat named Tsuchiya has been doing the drift thing for some time. He’s the main expert on the film, and if you watch this segment you’ll understand why.
“The Japanese Way” Cast and crew had a hoot shooting in Japan. Hear what they have to say about the cultural experience.
Finally, a music video by Don Omar pretty much puts the finishing touches on a pretty impressive collection of extras.
No one buys Playboy “for the articles”, and no one watches these films for the story. That’s the one thing Justin Lin doesn’t quite get. Listen to him talk, and he proudly proclaims the substance he feels he’s brought to the franchise. What the fans want out of these films is cars, women, and cars in that order. Next time let’s “settle this on the streets”.
Special Features List
- Commentary by: Director Justin Lin
- Deleted scenes
- Tricked out to drift
- The Japanese way
- Music Video
- The Real Drift King
- Hans Last Ride: Scene Breakdown
- Drifting School
- Cast Cam