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Universal Studios Home Video presents
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

"You're like the Justin Timberlake of Japan."
- Sean Boswell (Lucas Black)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: January 18, 2007

Stars: Lucas Black
Other Stars: Bow Wow, Sung Kang, Sonny Chiba, Nathalie Kelley, Brian Tee
Director: Justin Lin

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (reckless and illegal behavior involving teens, violence, language and sexual content)
Run Time: 01h:44m:11s
Release Date: September 26, 2006
UPC: 025193064929
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ C-A+A B

DVD Review

I'm not sure what's happened over the last five-plus years or so, but it seems that the popularity of street racing continues to rise. Disregarding how illegal this "sport" is, young adults across the country (and world, apparently) buy cars and "trick them out" with high-powered engines and crazy body designs. One of the main, if not the culprit for street racing's boon just might be the 2001 box office smash, The Fast and the Furious. This film (also responsible for making Vin Diesel a mega-star) introduced the masses to street racing, and also spawned a pair of sequels, the latest of which is 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) is a confident high school student who is seen as "trailer trash" by the jocks. One day after school, Sean challenges one such jock to a street race, with the prize being the football player's hot girlfriend. After wrecking both cars and tearing up a home under construction, Sean is arrested and sent to Japan by his mother to live with his father. Japan is much different from the US, though, but they do have one thing that Sean feels at home in, fast cars.

Japan's main form of street racing involves a unique style called drifting. This involves extensive use of the hand brake to sharply hit corners and stay out in front of your opponent. Sean is shown the ropes of this technique by Twinkie (Bow Wow) and Han (Sung Kang), who lends him a car to take on D.K. (Brian Tee), the nephew of a Yakuza boss (Sonny Chiba). If Sean can master drifting and defeat D.K., he'll not only make a name for himself in the Tokyo street racing scene, but he just might land his nemesis' girlfriend, Neela (Nathalie Kelley), as well.

I'll admit to never having seen the first sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, but I was actually looking forward to Tokyo Drift given that Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow) was behind the camera. The first two films benefited from having John Singleton running the show, but Lin at least attempts to bring something fresh and new to the table here. Despite a shoddy screenplay, he embraces the Tokyo setting, giving us gorgeous looks at the bright lights and bustling streets of the city, as well as a dabbling into the always-interesting Yakuza underworld. The film is also aided by strong work from Lucas Black, who continues to make us forget that he was Karl Childers' child friend in Sling Blade. The supporting cast is nothing special (aside from the always amazing Sonny Chiba), allowing Black to take center stage and possibly use Tokyo Drift to reach the next level which Diesel and Paul Walker approached with their exposure in the original Fast and the Furious.

There's no arguing that to truly enjoy Tokyo Drift or any of the Fast and the Furious movies, you need to at least have a marginal interest in cars, and/or racing. The original film had the benefit of a solid, detailed story with a whopper of a plot twist. The sequels have been mostly by-the-numbers, though, with Tokyo Drift suffering from a far too basic plot. Still, the racing sequences are undeniably exhilarating, with the help of a realistic blend of CGI and stunt driving. It's just too bad that a film (normally) can't run on fast-paced action sequences and energy, alone, but Lin's racing street racing saga makes a valiant effort to do so. The project does, indeed, come up short in the end, but an inspired cameo by one of the series' major players makes it worth watching until then.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is exactly what we expect from a recent summer movie. The flashy presentation features an amazing color scheme with the focal point of the film, the cars, benefiting the most from this, as each has its own gorgeous, yet distinctive features. The black levels are very well handled and deep, and there are hardly any noticeable flaws such as dirt or grain.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Spanish, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: While a DTS track would have been nice, the Dolby Digital 5.1 is more than suitable. The track is particularly aggressive during the racing scenes, with the surrounds taking advantage of some incredible directional effects as the cars go zooming by. A great deal of bass is put in play for the more brutal aspects of the racing, and the dialogue is always clear, regardless of the intensity of the accompanying action.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Scarface: Platinum Edition, Friday Night Lights, Waist Deep, Slither
11 Deleted Scenes
6 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Justin Lin
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. "Conteo" Music Video by Don Omar
Extras Review: The nice extras collection is highlighted by an audio commentary track with director Justin Lin. This discussion finds a very appreciative Lin, who talks about his experiences making Tokyo Drift, and how important the stunt drivers were to the shoot.

There are 11 deleted scenes that last just over 19 minutes. The clips don't add much to the overall story, but there are some fun moments that are worth a look.

Drifting School is a seven-plus minute piece that shows the cast learning to drift with the help of some experienced stunt drivers.

There's a Cast Cam, which is four minutes of on-set hand-held camera footage by many of the actors, an eight-minute look at a key scene called The Big Breakdown: Han's Last Ride, and Tricked Out to Drift, which is 11 minutes of in-depth footage of the film's individual cars.

We also get a three-minute look at The Real Drift King, Keiichi Tsuchiya; a legend who helped with the driving in Tokyo Drift. The Japanese Way is a featurette that's just under 10 minutes long, and looks at the cast and crew's experiences while in Japan. The last extra is the four-minute music video for "Conteo," by Don Omar.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

With an already installed fan base, there's no doubt that many copies of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift will fly off of DVD retailers' shelves, regardless of the film's quality. This is a decent, albeit flawed third part of the series, but that won't keep said fan base from giving it a shot. Universal Home Video's DVD release gives them even more reason to thanks to wonderful audio and video and a few entertaining extras.

 


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