Tokyo Drifting Into My Heart

The Fast and the Furious movies are the easiest movies to mock in Hollywood and I’m sick of it. Sure, those first two were not too great but the first one was made in like 2001 and there are hardly any good movies from back then. I’m pretty sure everything was just bad Bow Wow music video. And sure, that second one has a ridiculous name and looks like it was shot on a ham sandwich and probably spent more in oil for all the asses Ludacris was smacking during that scene at his pool or whatever. I’m paraphrasing here, no one would ever actually watch that more than once expect for me. I hope. One of those movies had real bad cgi engine interior shots that still make my head hurt. They found a way to turn those movies into something spectacular. That all started with a little movie called Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift.

The movie has a car designed to look like the Hulk. It’s green. It has a push broom on top of the windshield and big Hulk fists pushing their way out of the side of the car. If anyone ever asks you what your definition of art is, your first answer should be the Hulk car from Tokyo Drift. It is the most magical statement piece of the last twenty years. It challenges everything we know about awful car modification and embraces it. It surpasses awful and becomes amazing. Imagine, driving around middle America in a car dressed up to look like one of the lower tier super heroes. Yes, the movie takes place in Japan but the Hulk car might be the most American work of art to come from an Asian director in a movie based in Japan. Through the glories of the internet I have seen people bolt pieces of wood to the tops of their trucks because they can’t afford those big spotlights and they think it looks rad. It doesn’t. But the Hulk car, it does something special. There’s a lot of discussion about what art is and what isn’t art these days. Video games, comic books, etc. But the Hulk car has changed the game and we didn’t even know it.

Tokyo Drift introduces one of the best characters throughout the entire franchise and then abruptly kills him off, which means the following three movies are in the past, but we will get to that; it’s amazing. Han Seoul-Oh, yes that’s his name, is the best understated badasses in the entire franchise. Sure, compare him to Paul Walker’s character or the human gorilla Dominic Toretto and he’s not the most physically imposing man in the bunch by far, neither was Han Solo in Star Wars. I think the Director, Justin Lin, just wanted to make an awesome Asian Han Solo and did not even bother to name him something different. He steals every scene, which is to say that he’s a lot better than the girl who is just good at looking blankly at the protagonist. The calm, cool, and understated Han, who always seems to be eating, forces life into a cast that has very little. Plus, he shows up in later installments of the movies because of how impressive he was in Tokyo Drift. He defines the tone of the movie. Less of an aggressive drive fast and hit hard type of movie like the sequels have ultimately turned into and more of a calm and smooth look at the drifting scene in Tokyo, which is less about going fast and more about skill.. At one point Han just does a burnout around a car and the ladies hand him a piece of paper out the window. No dialogue, just straight up drifting prowess. Oh, he has great hair too.han-seoul-oh-3

The movie released in 2006 but is canonically placed in between the sixth and seventh installments of the series. So this means that Tokyo Drift takes place closer to present day than 2006. There are copious scenes of them live streaming drifting competitions on flip phones but since it actually happens around 2014, it makes it totally plausible. No issues there at all. The future is a place where drifting is magical. They slide up and down that mountain in Tokyo like stones on water. They become wind sweeping through poppy fields and blow through the leaves.

Tokyo Drift is not only the greatest Fast and Furious movie but the purest work of art cinema has produced in decades. The Hulk car leaves most people speechless upon first viewing. The Hulk car deserves a place in The Louvre between the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo. Who cares about a armless statue when you can look at a car with Hulk fists on it. Not only on it, but protruding from the sides. The Tokyo aspects of the movie accentuate the feeling of a stranger in a strange land but we are brought back to America every time Bow Wow gets in that goddamn car or the protagonist speaks. They have already begun filming Furious 8, but can Fast 9 better be a Tokyo Drift sequel. Or a spinoff just called Tokyo Drift 2.


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