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CATCH MY DRIFT

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Wed, Jun 14, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

CATCH MY DRIFT

By JOHN GRAFMAN

As I slink back into my car after the movie, I have just one thought in mind: Behave. If I don't remind myself that this was just a movie, there will be a problem. I'm amped up and ready for some tire-smoking fun. But that would be oh so politically incorrect.

Someone finally got it right. I love this film. The reason we come to see movies like this is for car chases and car racing. If they can toss in some hot girls, gangstas, and story line that isn't too hokey, even better still.

As plots go, The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift is pretty simple. Single mom (Lynda Boyd) frustrated with her incorrigible son, Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), who can't abide by the speed limit for anything, is sent to his dad (Brian Goodman). It just so happens his dad is in Tokyo, and driving is just a little different in the land of the rising sun.

The notorious drift king DK (Brian Tee) - and nephew to a yakuza member - is feared by almost all. All good bad guys need an accomplice, and this movie is no different. Han is the bad boy with a silver lining (Sung Kang). The love interest in Tokyo Drift is handled by Neela (Nathalie Kelly), the attractive girlfriend of DK.

Any sucker can stick their fat foot into a gas pedal and point it straight down the line, or go round endlessly in circles, but drifting is something radically different. Drifting has been a buzzword in auto racing for the past few years. This film doesn't just talk the talk, it walks the walk. The action scenes are crazy! As with many-a-flick of this genre, don't look too hard because it is a glamorized version of reality. The death defying smash-ups are just a bit hard to swallow. The stereotyping is just a bit heavy as well. Fortunately, I find the acting to be on target in spite of some of the dialogue and character depictions that are beyond the actors' control.

Drifting is part art and part science. Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust handle all the tough stuff. Incredible driving stunts are pulled off regularly in this movie only because of the tremendous talent of those behind the wheel. A quick glance at the credits and you can tell just what type of movie this is. Nearly one hundred credits are given to stunt players, including one Rod Millen.

Who know just how many cars are mangled in the making of this film, but an extra special thanks is given to Mitsubishi Motors of America in the credits. Mitsubishi's ultra-powerful little Evo is used and abused in this picture, as are a number of other cars. I counted numerous times in some scenes that might have been the demise of a car or two, if not a small fleet. All in all, a total of 80 cars were demolished in the making of this movie. One scene alone took its toll on seven Nissan cars!

As anyone might guess, this is essentially geared to sport compacts, just like one will expect to see rampant in Japan. A few well-chosen muscle cars are thrown in to provoke an east-meets-west rivalry as well. It is hard not to like all of the action if you are even a part-time enthusiast. Be forewarned, there are a few iffy parts that might not seem in check with reality and mess with the whole suspension of disbelief concept. But, hey, this isn't a documentary. Just go with it.

Packs of cigarettes have shorter warning labels than Tokyo Drift has at the start of this movie. Before the action roles, I did question the need to have some legal liability language.

THE MOTOR VEHICLE ACTION SEQUENCES DEPICTED IN THIS FILM ARE DANGEROUS. ALL STUNTS WERE PERFORMED IN CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS WITH PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED STUNT CREWS ON CLOSED ROADS. NO ATTEMPTS SHOULD BE MADE TO DUPLICATE ANY ACTION, DRIVING OR CAR PLAY SCENES HEREIN PORTRAYED.

I thought at first this was just another crazy marketing ploy, like the sci-fi movies of the sixties. Is this really necessary? The simple answer is, you bet you're a**.

A smoke-and-mirror technique is employed to keep the film on track. The secret: Keep the action going full bore all the time. If you don't have a chance to contemplate the hard to swallow parts, everything works out fine. A careful glance at the credits turns up many of the best effects houses in Hollywood, from Rhythm and Hues Studio to Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). You know the saying: If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. But nonetheless, it makes for some dynamic scenes.

This latest in the Fast and the Furious franchise maintains the edginess of the others with a boy gone bad. A requisite love story is also woven into the film. And like the visuals, the soundtrack is compelling and completes the experience. Artists from all genres get some play in this film: Mos Def, Kid Rock, Prodigy, M.C. Hammer, the Crystal Method, and N.E.R.D. Rapid-fire editing goes hand-in-hand with the sport compacts drifting in the streets of Japan, parking garages and even the shoreline docks.

In a surprising way, all this comes together far better than one ordinarily hopes for. Love it or leave it, this movie is a tribute to those who have mastered drifting. For the rest of us, we're happy when we can make it to-and-from our daily destinations without incident, and keeping our driving record intact.

That's reality for you!

Get a glimpse at the official web site http://www.thefastandthefurious.com

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