The Slow and The Stupid: Part III
30 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed the first two films, which were better than average popcorn flicks, but this (almost) completely unrelated crapfest is a complete waste of your filmgoing dollars. It's ridiculous and it's boring.

The main character, Sean, is a 34 year old street racer who has apparently been held back in school....for seventeen years. He's the oldest high school student on Planet Earth. In fact, in a remarkable feat of human biology, he is about the same age as his mother and father! He also has the most improbable and unconvincing Southern US accent imaginable.

After smashing up some cars and destroying an entire housing development, he is sent to live in Japan with his Navy dad (who apparently fathered him at the age of about 9). For reasons never explained, his father is not allowed to live on the Naval base, but has to reside in a minuscule Japanese slum and Sean (yup, still in high school, despite middle age) doesn't go to the Navy base school, where instruction would be in English, but instead is enrolled at a private Japanese academy despite the fact that he knows not a single word of Japanese. Apparently no one, not even his teachers there, seem to think this will be a problem.

Naturally, the first girl he sees in class is the only Caucasian student in the entire school, if not the entire city, and so she becomes the (very boring) love interest. He also meets the only African American student. Obviously these two must be his best friend and girlfriend since they are the only non-Asians around.

Subsequently, he gets into "drift racing", something I never heard of before and I can see why. It's not very interesting to watch. Apparently it consists of taking a small import vehicle with front wheel drive, and while going fast through a sharp turn, allowing the car to fishtail. While this seems possible enough (for a skilled stunt driver on a closed track, per the credits), I do wonder if it is possible to do this continuously while driving, i.e., to essentially drive sideways almost the entire time. Seriously, I doubt this. It's also not especially fast, which makes it fairly dull to watch.

Also, the big "final race" occurs, and the hero's dad (amazingly) has the body of a classic 60s Mustang in his garage (a somewhat unlikely situation in Japan -- not just the car, but the idea that he has a entire garage for this purpose in one of the world's most expensive and crowded cities). So Sean and his friends take the engine out of one of the Japanese cars he has wrecked earlier in the film, and in a few hours they manage to install this into the 60s muscle car. HELLO? Is this possible? I admit I am not a mechanic or specialist, but it does not seem logical that you could retrofit a Japanese front wheel drive engine into a vintage 60s American rear wheel drive car....if it could be done AT ALL, it seems to me that it would take a long time and involve a lot of custom parts. That's not even considering that they drive on the opposite side of the road in Japan, or that a 60s era car would be much heavier than a current model Japanese car.

There are too many other absurdities to list, along with the inclusion of the Yakuza (Japanese mafia). I wish I could say that "Toyko Drift" was campy, or that you could have a good time just laughing at the many absurdities, but actually its fatal flaw is that it is extremely dull. The least you would expect from it, title- wise, is that there would be lots of exciting racing -- and there isn't -- and that the hero would probably have a hot, sexy Japanese girlfriend and sexy love scenes -- and there is absolutely nothing in this regard (as he's barely hooked up with the only Caucasian woman in his high school). The film is entirely devoid of sex appeal, you could show it to a convention of Mormons.

SPOILER ALERT Because it's so dumb and utterly lame, I am alerting anyone (who has seen the TV ads) that Vin Diesel does appear, in his role from the first film, for a few seconds at the very end. It's stupid and it's gratuitous, and it says something terribly sad about both this film, and Mr. Diesel's career (that he was able to be compelled to appear, even uncredited). This is a franchise with every ounce of the life juice sucked out.

Here is hoping that they never, ever consider making "Fast & Furious IV".
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