After a street race gone wrong lands him in trouble with the law, delinquent driver Sean (Black) is packed off to live with his father in Tokyo. Once there, however, he becomes involved in the dangerous world of drift racing.
Now that even paul Walker has hung up his keys, the third instalment in this autophile franchise should, by rights, be a wreck. But against all expectations, director Justin Lin has recaptured some of the thrills that made the first film such adolescent wish-fulfilment fun. Relegating plot to the back seat where it belongs, Lin puts the emphasis on the movie’s stars, which in Tokyo Drift don’t include the actors.
This is unapologetic car porn, with the camera lingering lovingly on every yard of gleaming chrome, and if a Veilside custom body kit sets your wheels spinning then this will certainly show you a good time. The automotive action on display leaves both the film’s predecessors in the dust, with whipcrack edits marking every gear change as cars slide gracefully around impossible hairpin bends and, in one scene, a throng of startled pedestrians.
But pimp as this ride may be, there’s little beneath the bonnet. Performances are stilted and the set-up — involving Yakuzas and stolen cash — is utterly forgettable. But that’s not why we’re here. This is a film about big cars with bigger engines and, taken as such, is an auto-erotic pleasure.
Dramatically dire but supercharged with some of the best race action yet seen.