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The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift

Editorial


Get ready kids; drifting hits the silver screen this summer with the June 16, 2006 release of “Fast & Furious 3: Tokyo Drift.” (F&F:TD) It will be drifting’s first official movie and that means big exposure for the sport all across the world.

 

From what we're hearing already, this looks to be one of the most anticipated (and most dreaded) movies of the year. Hundreds of drifting fans are bracing themselves for the after-effects of this movie which may include increased street drifting, tons of people flooding into the sport, poser wannabes everywhere, and inflated prices on 240's and hachis. 

If you haven’t already read the story line and / or viewed the trailer (Windows Media), F&F:TD is a story about a young American street racer who gets sent to live with his father in Japan. While in Japan he discovers the sport of “drift racing,” and commits some kind of underground social faux pas and pisses off the “Drift King.” To make matters even more complicated, the “Drift King” is connected to the Japanese mob (yakuza) and his girlfriend has the hots for the American newcomer. Unlikely? Highly. Cheesy? Extra.

 

Now, let me explain something to everyone out there, in case they didn’t know already: movie production is an industry. The Fast & Furious is a franchise. What do franchises do? They take a product, determine which time tested business formulas to apply to it, package it for and market it to the masses, and then they sit back and watch the cash roll in.

Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift is nothing new. We’ve already seen it back in 1986 when it was released as The Karate Kid Part II. Daniel-san was the awkward, out of place American in Okinawa; drifting has been substituted for karate; the “Drift King” is the Japanese bad-ass that’s taken Chozen’s place; and the “Drift King’s” girlfriend fits in where hot, 21-year old Tamlyn Tomita once was. I can guarantee you that there will also be some character in the story that will act as a mentor to the American “drifter” to help him in his battle against the “Drift King.” He will most likely teach the American some secret technique to use while “drift racing” so he can win the day.

Hollywood has found a way to create a “Bring it On” for just about any popular genre. They’ve figured that just about everyone who associates themselves with a particular genre will turnout for a genre related movie, no matter how bad or ridiculous it may be. There are huge numbers to be seen there. The genre movie is a pretty safe bet for Hollywood. Marching band has Drumline. Breakdancing has You Got Served. BMX riding has Rad. And now, drifting the has Fast & Furious 3: Tokyo Drift.

Now, I’ve only seen the trailer, so I can’t tell you how good or bad the movie is. But I do feel some sadness that our sport will most likely be misrepresented. Now, elements of the movie are pretty cheesy (in order to fit into the Hollywood genre movie archetype), but nonetheless somewhat cool. I’d really like to see hot chicks in underwear coming out to watch drifting events and just crawling over the drivers and the guys running the events. That sure would be nice.

And it would also be nice if this movie didn’t try so hard to be so “bad ass” all the time. How did they direct all the extras for this movie? “Okay guys, dress up like you’re going to a nightclub and girls, dress up like hookers. Now, everyone start smoking. Hey, Asian dudes, put those shades on, I don’t care if it’s nighttime. Hooker girls, start polishing cars. Raver dudes, start raving. Perfect! Now, everyone act uninterested and start sneering at the camera like you’re Billy Idol. Roll sound! Action!” 

Well, I for one can’t wait to see this movie. I hope that everyone that likes drifting goes out and sees this show. Big exposure for drifting will only mean greater mainstream acceptance for the sport as a whole. More people interested means more events. More events mean more competitions. More competitions means even more exposure, and the cycle goes on and on.

This movie will be drifting’s biggest and most expensive commercial. I imagine that there will be a lot of interested, but clueless, people out there after this thing comes out. Everyone should do their best to educate the general public on what drifting is really about and why they choose to do it. Start teaching people things other than the hype and maybe we’ll see a much more realistic movie in the Fast & Furious franchise in the future. 

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