Merrick is jiggy wit' it...
There are some people who like their summer movies high-brow. There are some people who like them Van Helsing-style. Me? I like ‘em fuckin' fast & furious. And, my friend, I'll be damned if summer didn't come early to Sacramento. Screw the rain, I just saw Fast & Furious 3 – Tokyo Drift!!
That’s right, the latest edition of the fast cars and beautiful people franchise is coming back to theaters and it couldn't have made me giddier. And, this time, they’re bringin on the udon and a new form of racing… because the speed is going international!
We kick off in the States with our scrappy Southern hero (a perfectly serious Lucas Black – the kid from Sling Blade). He gets ridiculed by a local bully and whups his ass in a pretty fuckin’ awesome race, complete with the smashes & crashes that we’ve come to know and love. Destruction is fun! But our hero gets into trouble and here starts our fish out of water story.
Let’s take a cue from the film and speed through the story, shall we?
- He goes to Japan to stay with his Navy officer dad… he better git himself some discipline.
- We see lovely scenic shots of Japan.
- He sees hot girl and, as the genre would dictate, she is out-of-bounds for this whitey… as she is tied in with the… wait for it… wait for it… YAKUZA!
- But he finds snappy sidekick #1: Bow Wow, muthafuckas! This is the part of the film where we learn that, in Japanese high schools, you can wear a do-rag… but you can’t wear shoes. Who says you can’t learn from movies?
- He gets introduced to Japan’s underworld racing scene. This made me very happy as we get what can now be called a signature Fast & Furious scene… the line-up of cars with raised hoods & the line-up of girls with short skirts. AWESOME. Oh, I believe I also saw some Japanese line-dancing. So, there’s something else I learned.
- He races some guy. Gets whupped... Is indebted to one of the thugs… who turns out to be a nice guy… who is looking to extort money from the… yep, Yakuza.
- Anyhoooooo, this is where we get introduced to the concept of drifting. Watch the trailer to see what this looks like. It’s quite amazing and, as we see later in the film, quite romaaaantic.
- Oh, by the by, EVERYBODY drifts in Japan. And nobody puts Baby in the corner. Two important facts which are handy in everyday life.
- Skip to the end…. Hero learns how to drift (through a serious of Footloosian training segments) and we go through rockin’ car chase after car chase until he reaches his final showdown… which has high stakes and involved, uh huh, the Yakuza boss (Sonny… fuckin’… Chiba).
Will our hero prevail? What do you think? It’s Fast & Furious 3!
Will our hero get the girl? Whatever! It’s Tokyo Drift.
Will I ever remember our hero’s name? Who cares?! It’s TOKYO FUCKIN’ DRIFT, BITCH!
Look, there’s no way to say that this is high art. But I really couldn’t give a fuck. This had me giggling and feelin’ pumped up all the way through. That’s why I loved the first two flicks… sometimes, I just don’t want to think. You don’t have to take it seriously because it takes itself so perfectly seriously. Soon enough you get so wrapped up in what’s at stake in the races, that you have to remind yourself that you have no idea what’s actually at stake.
I like how they have a new director with each movie. This time, Justin Lin has his turn and he does exaaactly what he needs to do, while adding a few flourishes along the way. He doesn’t reinvent the wheel… he just puts on new tires (*sigh*). At the very least, each director gets to tap into the latent homoerotic charm which, I guess, comes as a part of street racing. The Japanese villain pierces our hero with come-hither looks that say, “I want to drift all over your body.” Maverick & Iceman have some serious competition.
So, I suggest you grab a few drinks, find the right buzz, and check this out. Just don’t try drifting afterwards. You can’t do it. And the parking lot security doesn’t appreciate it.
- Newman’s Drift