The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Slows The Whole Franchise Down

Welcome back to my rewatch series of the Fast and Furious franchise – it has been a while, but honestly, I knew Tokyo Drift was going to be a bit of a chore and require quite a bit of inebriation on my part to sit through it. It's a high-budget, low-IQ generic action movie, but it slows down the whole series – probably because it wasn't meant to really be in the franchise at all. Am I glad that Vin Diesel decided to come back and do a soft reboot moving us into heists and away from drag racing and womanizing (well, mostly)?

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Poster
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Poster. Credit: Universal Pictures

And yet, here I am, 7 films deep, still sitting through a cringe display of political incorrectness, alpha-male standoffs, and car races over women in ultra mini schoolgirl skirts. But thankfully, once these insane two hours are behind us, it's back to the civilized world of heists and good ol' Vin vs. The Rock.

Am I supposed to believe any of these people are in high school, especially Lucas Black? This is a guy who's 24 and looks 30…is playing a 17-year-old in high school? This casting is worse than Riverdale…though I suppose I should just be grateful, he's not inexplicably ripped and contractually obligated to appear shirtless every five minutes. Also, how is he just plopped in the middle of all this? I have so many questions, and this movie provides zero answers.

It's like they didn't care about the story and just wanted to do the most ridiculous car stunts with their embarrassingly large budget. Okay, Bow Wow, we'll just pretend like two military brats are going to a local Japanese high school. At very least, Sean would be in school on base coming in halfway through the year like that and not speaking a word of Japanese. Oh, but he's a fast learner, which apparently means he immediately picks up both katakana and spoken Japanese magically by halfway through the film. It's absolutely absurd, but it's time to play pretend in the absolutely wild world of Tokyo drift that doesn't exist in our reality.

All in all, the plot isn't anything new or groundbreaking; the story always boils down to something basic with a side of romance and a happy resolution for our scrappy hero who gets the girl and drives off into the sunset. I can go basically anywhere for that kind of story – but why I keep coming back to the Fast and the Furious franchise is because of the fun feeling the cars, crimes, and charisma they deliver that's unique to these movies. And this one just doesn't feel fun…at all.

Honestly, you're better off watching two hours of Ken Block's Gymkhana videos on YouTube if it's fun energy and cool car stunts you're after. But, if you insist on watching the Fast and the Furious franchise, I'd go with the popular choice of skipping this one and just getting on with the better films of the franchise. Besides, the ending and post-credits scene of Fast & Furious 6 (as well as the next movie in the lineup, Furious 7) catch you up so nicely so that you can entirely skip it and still stay in the loop.

The only reason why this movie is worth sitting through is to get to Vin Diesel's cameo at the end. Otherwise, please continue directly from Fast & Furious 6 to Furious 7. Until next time, this is Eden signing off – I mean, drifting off into the sunset, because apparently, that's just how it's done around here. With Tokyo Drift finished, we're officially done with the skipping around and are now free to follow numerical order once again. See you next time for Furious 7.


This post is part of a multi-part series: A Slow Recap of the Fast and Furious Saga.

About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions

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