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Volume 71, Issue 143, Thursday, June 15, 2006

Life & Arts

'Drift' long on rides, short on plot


Move over, NASCAR: Drifting, once a hidden treasure of Japanese racing culture, has driven its way across the ocean and is fast becoming the new obsession of racers. The Fast and the Furious' third installment, Tokyo Drift, maneuvers its way into theaters delivering high-speed fun at every corner.

Tokyo Drift brilliantly capitalizes on drifting's newfound popularity in America while increasing its own franchise's appeal. Drifting, a sport that started in Japan a decade ago, involves drivers attempting to control a 450-horsepower car while it slides sideways through a designated course. Competitors are rated on execution and style.

The film follows a young American, Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), who is exiled to Tokyo to live with his father as punishment for bad behavior. A racing enthusiast himself, Boswell finds himself thrown into the drift world in the first 30 minutes of the film. After crashing drift master Han's (Sung Kang) prized drift machine, Boswell finds himself in debt to the one of the best drifters in Tokyo. 

Han decides to take the young American under his wing, furnish him with a car (a rather speedy new Lancer) and pass on to him the skills of drifting.

Of course, Boswell masters the art of drifting quickly the movie's only 104 minutes, after all and takes on more than he can handle when he attempts to out-drift Tokyo's self-proclaimed "drift king" and Tokyo mafia prince DK (Brian Tee).

Although the acting and plot leave a lot to be desired, the elaborate chase scenes and drift competitions keep viewers on the edge of their seats. For Japanese car aficionados, this movie offers lots of eye candy, from pimped out Mazda RX-7s to Nissan Skylines and 350Zs.

No Fast and the Furious installment would be complete without the token love interest, would it? Enter Neela (newcomer Nathalie Kelley), a beauty who unfortunately gets Boswell into more trouble than she's worth. The thin plot means Neela's character is minimally developed more than likely, she's around for appearances only, though she ultimately drags Boswell into every conflict he encounters in the film.

For those searching for a simple good time, this movie delivers it all: good music, beautiful Asian women, loads of action and, of course, an insane amount of pimped out rides. For those looking for the next Oscar winners or a plot with a semblance of depth, drift on out of the theater before Tokyo Drift leaves you furious.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Rated: PG-13 for violence, language and sexual content
Starring: Lucas Black, Brian Tee , Sung Kang, Jason Tobin, Nathalie Kelly

Verdict: Drift into theaters for a good time.

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