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:: The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift

Let’s be clear about something. Video games are great, really. They thrill and they entertain; they unapologetically confront us with the most impossible of feats, the most death-defying of stunts. It doesn’t matter that the manoeuvres they depict are hardly realistic: the thrill of the simulation is addictive enough.

The trouble is when Hollywood tries to pass off a video game as a film, like Tokyo Drift. You see, the problem with films is that they generally require some kind of plot. This means that writers have to come up with some sort of coherent, preferably chronological pretext for showing a lot of noisy, fluorescent cars trying to destroy each other and their surroundings, while a lot of scantily-clad women cheer, whistle and throw their bras in the air like they actually give a damn about which one crosses the line first. It was never going to be an easy task.

Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) is a drag-racing rebel without a cause. One destructive race too many with a high school football jock sees him shipped off to Japan to live with his estranged father in order to avoid juvenile detention. There, new friend Twinkie (Bow Wow) introduces him to the drift racing circuit and the aptly named ‘Drift King’ (Brian Tee). Overestimating his ability to drift (making a car glide sideways around corners), Sean soon gets himself into hot water with the Yakuza. But with everything in life, there’s no trouble that a drag race can’t settle.

There’s a love interest: the suitably exotic-looking Neela (Nathalie Kelley). There are a lot of evil-looking Oriental types who speak perfect English even to each other, except for when they want to sound menacing. There’s even a token friendly black guy who says ‘day-am’ a lot. Another Team Movie: Really Fast Cars might have been a better title.

Those who need to drag themselves away from the arcade to see a film will adore Tokyo Drift. Anyone else will probably find it entertaining, but oh so forgettable.