The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
|The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Justin Lin|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Written by||Chris Morgan|
by Gary Scott Thompson
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Cinematography||Stephen F. Windon|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$159 million|
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is a 2006 action film directed by Justin Lin, with a screenplay by Chris Morgan. It is the third installment in the Fast & Furious franchise and stars Lucas Black, Sung Kang, Bow Wow, and Brian Tee. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift follows high school car enthusiast Sean Boswell (Black), who is sent to live in Tokyo with his father, and finds solace in the city's drifting community.
Lin was hired as director due to his work in Better Luck Tomorrow (2002). Unable to secure the returns of any of the series' original cast members, plans were made by developers to reconsider Tokyo Drift and make it a distinct entry in the franchise, which was achieved by focusing on a car subgenre, incorporating a location outside the United States, and establishing new characters. Subsequently, the chronological timeline of the franchise shifted, with all future installments until Furious 7 (2015) being set between 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and Tokyo Drift.
The film also marks the first to begin the franchise's longtime association with Lin and Morgan, as well as composer Brian Tyler; Lin went onto direct the following three sequels (and is attached to direct two additional future films), while Morgan wrote the next five installments. Tyler would go on to score 4 of the 5 following sequels. Casting began in April 2005, and principal photography began in Los Angeles in August 2005, with the majority of the film being shot in Tokyo.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was released in the United States on June 16, 2006. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $159 million worldwide, making it the lowest-grossing film in the franchise.
In Oro Valley, Arizona, troubled high school student Sean Boswell and athlete Clay race their cars to win the affections of Clay's girlfriend Cindy. When Sean cuts through a structure and catches up to Clay, Clay hits Sean's car repeatedly until they reach a high-speed turn, which causes both cars to crash; Sean's car is totaled. Clay and Cindy's wealthy families help them escape punishment, but because Sean is a repeat offender, he is sent to live in Tokyo, Japan with his father, a U.S. Navy officer stationed in Tokyo, in order to avoid juvenile detention or jail.
While in Tokyo, Sean befriends Twinkie, a military brat who introduces him to the world of drift racing in Japan. Sean has a confrontation with Takashi—the Drift King (DK)—over Sean talking to Takashi's girlfriend, Neela. Though barred from driving, Sean decides to race against Takashi, who has ties to the Yakuza, but loses his first race with Takashi due to his unfamiliarity with drifting.
To repay his debt for the car he destroyed, Sean agrees to work for Han. This leads to the duo becoming friends, with Han agreeing to teach Sean how to drift, explaining that he is helping him as Sean is the only person willing to stand up to Takashi. Sean moves in with Han and soon masters drifting, gaining respect after defeating DK's right-hand man, Morimoto. Sean soon asks Neela out on a date, and learns that after her mother died, she moved in with Takashi's grandmother, which resulted in their relationship. An enraged Takashi beats Sean up the next day, telling him to stay away from Neela; Neela subsequently leaves Takashi and moves in with Sean and Han.
Takashi's uncle Kamata, the head of the Yakuza, reprimands Takashi for allowing Han to steal from him. Takashi and Morimoto confront Han, Sean, and Neela about the thefts. Twinkie causes a distraction, allowing Han, Sean, and Neela to flee, who are then pursued by Takashi and Morimoto. During the chase, Morimoto is killed in a crash, leaving Takashi to pursue the trio on his own. Han allows Sean to overtake him in order to hold Takashi off, but the chase ends when Sean and Neela crash. Meanwhile, moments after escaping from Takashi, Han's car is t-boned,[N 1] and the car explodes before Sean has a chance to save Han.
Takashi, Sean, and his father become involved in an armed standoff which is resolved by Neela agreeing to leave with Takashi. Sean's father prepares to send him back but Sean pleads him to let him fix his own mess. His father then agrees and makes amends with him. Twinkie gives his money to Sean to replace the money Han stole from Takashi, which Sean then returns to Kamata. Sean proposes a race against Takashi, with the loser having to leave Tokyo. Kamata agrees to the challenge, but on the condition that the race take place on a mountain, revealed to be the mountain where Takashi himself is the only person to make it down successfully.
That night, on the mountain, crowds gather to see the race; Takashi takes the lead initially, but Sean's training allows him to catch up. Determined to win, Takashi resorts to ramming Sean's car, eventually missing and driving off the mountain while Sean crosses the finish line. Kamata keeps his word, and lets Sean remain in Tokyo and is now christened the new Drift King. Some time later, Neela, Twinkie, and Sean are enjoying themselves in their newfound homeplace and freedom. An American racer shows up to challenge Sean, and he accepts after the American proclaims himself as Han's family.
Fast & Furious continuity
After this film, three prequels, Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), and Fast & Furious 6 (2013) established Han Lue with the main characters before he settled in Tokyo. Han's explosive car crash was revisited in post-credits scene of Fast & Furious 6, introducing Deckard Shaw, portrayed by Jason Statham, as the other driver, setting up Furious 7 (2015). Lucas Black returned appearing briefly in Furious 7. Black, alongside Sung Kang, Bow Wow, and Jason Tobin, have been cast in F9 (2021).
- Lucas Black as Sean Boswell, a young man interested in street racing.
- Sung Kang as Han Lue, DK's business partner and old friend of Dominic Toretto, who befriends Sean and teaches him how to drift.
- Bow Wow as Twinkie, Sean's first friend he meets in Tokyo and who sells various consumer goods and introduces Sean to drift racing.
- Brian Tee as Takashi, Sean's enemy who is acknowledged as the best drift racer and given the title "Drift King", or simply "D.K.".
- Nathalie Kelley as Neela, Takashi's girlfriend who later falls for Sean.
- Sonny Chiba as Kamata, Takashi's uncle who is the head of the Yakuza.
- Leonardo Nam as Morimoto, Takashi's close friend and right-hand man.
- Brian Goodman as Major Boswell, Sean's father.
- Zachery Ty Bryan as Clay, the quarterback of Sean's school whom Sean races at the beginning of the film.
- Lynda Boyd as Ms. Boswell, Sean's mother who fed up with moving her and Sean around, sends him to Tokyo, Japan to live with his father.
- Jason Tobin as Earl Hu, one of Han's friends.
- Keiko Kitagawa as Reiko, Earl's friend.
- Nikki Griffin as Cindy, Clay's girlfriend, who suggests that Clay and Sean race to win her.
- Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto (uncredited cameo)
- Keiichi Tsuchiya as unnamed fisherman (cameo)
Writer Chris Morgan was a fan of the series, and the producers had an open writing call for the third film. Morgan originally pitched Vin Diesel in Tokyo, learning to drift and solving a murder.
Neal H. Moritz, who had produced the two previous installments, began working on the film in 2005. On June 8, 2005, Moritz hired Justin Lin to direct The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Lin, who wasn't intimately familiar with drifting when he was approached to helm the project, recalled: "I was in film school when The Fast and the Furious came out, and I saw it along with a sold-out crowd who just ate it up. What really excited me about directing this film was the chance to harness that energy—create a whole new chapter and up the ante by bringing something new to the table for the audience who loves action and speed." Lin was not enthusiastic at first and was unimpressed by earlier drafts of the script, saying "I think it's offensive and dated, and I don't have any intention of doing it." The producers allowed him to develop the film in his own way, although it was a constant challenge and he was always battling the studio to make the film better, he said "to their credit, they were very fair and reasonable."
It was impossible to get the necessary filming permits in Tokyo, so they went ahead without permission. "I wanted to shoot in Shibuya, which is the most crowded place in Tokyo. The cops, they're all so polite, so it takes ten minutes for them to come over and kick you out." Unknown to Lin the studio had hired a fall guy, who stepped in who when the police came to arrest him, and said he was the director and spent the night in jail instead.
Following poor test screenings of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Vin Diesel agreed to make a cameo in the film in exchange for Universal's ownership to rights of the Riddick series and character, in lieu of financial payment.
Races and stunts were coordinated by second unit director Terry Leonard, the film used almost 250 vehicles, cutting up 25 and destroying more than 80.
The Nissan Silvia which Sean trashes in his first race in Japan is depicted as having an RB26DETT engine swap which itself is donated to the Ford Mustang. However, the car in the movie was actually powered by the Silvia's original engine. The Veilside body-kitted Mazda RX-7 driven by Han was originally built by Veilside for the 2005 Tokyo Auto Salon, but was later bought by Universal and repainted from dark red, to orange and black, for use in the movie. The car in which Dominic appears in at the end of the film is a highly customized 1970 Plymouth Satellite, which was built for the SEMA Show.
Notable drifting personalities Keiichi Tsuchiya, Rhys Millen, and Samuel Hübinette were consulted and employed by the movie to provide and execute the drifting and driving stunts in the film. Tanner Foust, Rich Rutherford, Calvin Wan and Alex Pfeiffer were also brought in as none of Universal's own stunt drivers could drift. Some racing events were filmed within the Hawthorne Mall parking lot in Los Angeles, as filming in Tokyo required permits the studio was unable to obtain. They instead used street lights and multiple props to help recreate Tokyo.
Toshi Hayama was also brought in to keep elements of the film portrayed correctly, who was contacted by Roger Fan, an old high school friend who starred in Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow. Hayama ensured certain references were deployed correctly, such as the use of nitrous oxide in straights but not in turns, and keeping the use of references to sponsors to a minimum. One of Kamata's henchman has missing fingers, a punishment typically deployed by the Yakuza. He had to have the missing fingers digitally added in to appease cultural concerns.
Tokyo Drift brought in over $23 million on its opening weekend, placing at #3 behind Cars ($33.7 million) and Nacho Libre ($28.3 million). The film itself was in limited release in Japan (released under the name Wild Speed 3). The US box office was $62,514,415, and it grossed another $96,450,195 internationally, resulting in total receipts of $158,964,610.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift gained a 37% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 137 critics; the average rating is 4.91/10. The site's consensus reads: "Eye-popping driving sequences coupled with a limp story and flat performances make this Drift a disappointing follow-up to previous Fast and Furious installments." On Metacritic, which determines a normalized rating out of 100 from mainstream critics, the film received a score of 46 out of 100 based on reviews from 31 critics meaning "mixed or average reviews." Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A- on scale of A to F.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the film, giving it three out of four stars, saying that director Justin Lin "takes an established franchise and makes it surprisingly fresh and intriguing," adding that Tokyo Drift is "more observant than we expect" and that "the story [is] about something more than fast cars". Michael Sragow of The Baltimore Sun felt that "the opening half-hour may prove to be a disreputable classic of pedal-to-the-metal filmmaking" and " the last downhill race is a doozy." Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter said that "it's not much of a movie, but a hell of a ride".[better source needed] Todd McCarthy of Variety gave the film a positive review and wrote, praising the "good, old-fashioned genre filmmaking done in a no-nonsense, unpretentious style" and saying "third entry stays in high gear most of the way with several exhilarating racing sequences, and benefits greatly from the evocative Japanese setting." McCarthy particularly praised the work of stunt coordinator Terry J. Leonard.
Michael Medved gave Tokyo Drift one and a half stars out of four, saying: "There's no discernible plot [...] or emotion or humor." Medved concluded "The main achievement of this vapid time-waster involves its promotion of new appreciation for the first two movies in the series." James Berardinelli from ReelViews also gave it one and a half stars out of four, saying: "I expect a racing film to be derivative. That goes with the territory. No one is seeing a Fast and the Furious movie for the plot. When it comes to eye candy, the film is on solid ground—it offers plenty of babes and cars (with the latter being more lovingly photographed than the former). However, it is unacceptable that the movie's action scenes (races and chases) are boring and incoherent. If the movie can't deliver on its most important asset, what's the point?"
Richard Roeper strongly criticized the film, saying, "The whole thing is preposterous. The acting is so awful, some of the worst performances I've seen in a long, long time." Ethan Alter of Premiere magazine was also critical of the acting particularly Black's performance: "The problems with Tokyo Drift start with its ostensible hero; during the course of this movie, Sean makes so many dumb decisions it's a wonder that anyone wants to be associated with him." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said that Tokyo Drift "suffers from blurred vision, motor drag and a plot that's running on fumes. Look out for a star cameo—it's the only surprise you'll get from this heap." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle criticized the film saying: "It quickly tanks, thanks to a lead character with no goals, focus, appeal or intelligence and a lead actor who's just a little too convincing at playing a dunce" and "As for the racing scenes, who cares about the finesse move of drifting, compared to going fast? And who wants to watch guys race in a parking lot? For that matter, who wants to watch guys race down a mountain, with lots of turns?" Matt Singer of Village Voice wrote: "Like 2 Fast 2 Furious before it, Tokyo Drift is a subculture in search of a compelling story line, and Black's leaden performance makes you pine for the days of Paul Walker."
Rob Cohen, who directed the first film of the series, was very critical of this film, saying: "If you were to just watch Tokyo Drift, you'd say 'I never want to see anything related to Fast & Furious again.'"
When critics rank the movies against each other, Tokyo Drift has often appeared on the bottom of the list. Over time, it has become a favorite with some fans, and it has been placed in with the top four by some critic rankings, and even at the number one and two positions by others. Critics and fans have come to appreciate it for introducing Sung Kang and Justin Lin to the franchise, and enjoyed the simple story, stylish direction, and that the film never takes itself too seriously. Furthermore, with the film series becoming more action dependent, and incorporating less realistic storylines, the simplicity of Tokyo Drift has become more appreciated by critics.
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, composed of 12 songs, was released on June 20, 2006 through Universal Motown. It features contributions from Don Omar, Teriyaki Boyz, Atari Teenage Riot, Brian Tyler, DJ Shadow, Dragon Ash, Evil Nine, Far East Movement, Mos Def, N⋆E⋆R⋆D, Tego Calderón and The 188.8.131.52's. Brian Tyler's Original Score was released on June 27 via Varèse Sarabande, a week after Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
- As depicted in the 2013 film Fast & Furious 6.
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The critics are also split on this one.
- McCarthy, Todd (June 14, 2006). "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift". Variety.
- Review Archived 2006-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, Michael Medved, MichaelMedved.com, 21 June 2006
- Review, James Berardinelli, Reel Views
- Review, Richard Roper, rottentomatoes.com, July 18, 2006 Archived October 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- Ethan Alter (2006). "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift". Premiere Magazine. Archived from the original on July 20, 2006.
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- LaSalle, Mick (June 16, 2006). "All the excitement of parking-lot motoring". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Matt Singer (2006). "village voice > film > by Matt Singer". Village Voice. Archived from the original on July 3, 2006.
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The driving sequences in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift are also the series' most beautiful
- Haleigh Foutch (April 13, 2017). "Fast and Furious movies, ranked". Collider.
The most unfairly maligned of the Fast and Furious films
- Darren Franich (April 17, 2017). "Ranking every 'Fast and the Furious' movie". Entertainment Weekly. "Fast and the Furious movies, ranked". EW.com.
this is the one that feels closest in spirit to genuine car culture
- C. Molly Smith (April 5, 2015). "In defense of 'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift'". EW.com.
- Sims, David (April 10, 2020). "Unexpected Movie Masterpieces to Watch in Quarantine". The Atlantic.
makes this one of the best in the franchise
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