Having burned through Los Angeles and Miami, the fuel-injected street-racing series takes on Tokyo and the specialized auto sport of drifting, in which speed takes a backseat to exquisitely controlled rear-wheel skids, slides and fishtails around hairpin curves. Alabama-born high-school hell-raiser Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) lives for speed and has the arrest record to prove it. His mother's attempts to outrun Sean's troubles have kept them moving from town to town, but she finally reaches the end of her rope and sends him to Japan to live with his father (Brian Goodman), a career military man who abandoned them when Sean was 3. Major Boswell enrolls Sean at Wadakura High and warns him to study hard, stay out of trouble, come home promptly and, whatever he does, stay the hell away from cars. Sean promptly ignores all three admonitions, befriending fast-talking Army brat Twinkie (Bow Wow) and immersing himself in the underground sport of drifting, a self-contained world of trouble. Sean immediately offends hotshot DK (Brian Tee), a legendary driver and nephew of scary yakuza Kamata (exploitation-movie veteran Sonny Chiba), by chatting with DK's girl, Neela (Nathalie Kelley). Then he humiliates himself by losing dismally to DK — which stands for "Drift King" — in a race inside a multistory parking garage. Fortunately, Sean also finds a mentor in Han (Sung Kang), DK's sometime partner and friendly rival; Han teaches him to drift and sets the stage for the inevitable no-holds-barred, carro a carro showdown on a dark and winding mountain road. If ever a location were tailor-made for the Fast and Furious franchise, it's downtown Tokyo, with its neon-washed streets, high-energy clubs, sensory-overload-inducing gaming parlors and compulsively stylish teenagers, whose classy chassis give the gleaming, customized drift cars a serious run for their money. Director Justin Lin serves up a gleaming riot of flesh and fiberglass, driven by a high- octane, genre-melding score. To call the film noisy and brainless isn't even a criticism — it's unadulterated auto-porn, as shallow and shiny as it wants to be: Clutter, as in story or characters, would only clutter the exquisitely streamlined silhouette. That said, there's room for a very special cameo by Vin Diesel — never let it be said that screenwriter Chris Morgan is devoid of human sentiment.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Having burned through Los Angeles and Miami, the fuel-injected street-racing series takes on Tokyo and the specialized auto sport of drifting, in which speed takes a backseat to exquisitely controlled rear-wheel skids, slides and fishtails around hairpin c… (more)