A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift features frequent car racing and crashing including a car that flips over and explodes, killing the driver (with a disclaimer advising viewers not to try such tricks at home). High school-aged boys fight (a beatdown in the schoolyard), a Yakuza gangster threatens violence; gangsters show guns (inspiring the kids at risk to jump in their cars and drive fast again). High school-aged girls show much skin and dance provocatively in brief party scenes. High school kids smoke cigarettes and drink liquor; the adult villain smokes a cigar. Some language (s-word and suggestive soundtrack lyrics).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT, young Sean (Lucas Black) is in fast trouble, racing a bully in order to "win" a girl, which leads immediately to Sean's punishment: he's sent to live with his grumpy father (Brian Goodman, who played the grumpy father in director Justin Lin's last movie, Annapolis). When dad, a Navy lifer, lays down strict rules, Sean disobeys immediately: he finds the jaunty car scene and a new form of driving called drift (a photogenic form of racing where the car slides along the pavement sideways, the driver shifting, braking, and steering like a madman, typically undertaken on parking garage ramps). He also makes two new friends, an "Army brat" and charming super-salesman named Twinkie (Bow Wow), and a philosophical crook and playboy, Han (Sung Kang, who also appeared in Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow as a guy named Han). Encouraged to think through his choices (why does he race? Why does he rebel?), Sean becomes a better racer and smarter rebel. He also falls in love with a girl, Neela (Nathalie Kelley), who happens to be attached to the villain, D.K. (Brian Tee).
Is it any good?
Slick and shiny, this movie is part coming-of-age tale, part auto show, and part parade of girls in high school uniforms. The eye candy is generic, but the race scenes are terrific, inventive and witty (even as they occasionally end in crashes).
Because D.K. is the nephew of a Yakuza (Sonny Chiba, looking dapper in white suit and fedora), he has money and a sense of privilege, which means he's determined to take down Sean. They race repeatedly, make mean faces at each other, and compete for Neela's loyalty. While The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift pays some attention to Sean's "outsider" status as a Gajin in Japan, for the most part, he's another triumphant American in a strange land. Upfront about its generic stereotypes (villain is grim, hero earnest, girl pretty), the film glories in its gorgeous action sequences: plot becomes irrelevant.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Sean and his father. How does Sean's rebelliousness mirror his dad's stubbornness? How does The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift point out differences and similarities between U.S. and Japanese kids' interests? Does the movie paint a realistic view of high school life?
- In theaters: June 16, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: September 26, 2006
- Cast: Bow Wow, Lucas Black, Zachery Ty Bryan
- Director: Justin Lin
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: reckless and illegal behavior involving teens, violence, language and sexual content.