Dave's Rating:

4.0

… looks like one of Gwen Stefani's erotic dreams …

Who's in It:Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Brian Tee, Nathalie Kelley, Sonny Chiba

The Basics: Back in the '50s and '60s, there was a genre of movies about juvenile delinquents that were all about attractive surliness and drag-racing. That means that this film franchise is upholding an important cinematic legacy and … um … yeah, I don't know. I was never bored and the cars went vrrrrrooooom. More Harajuku girls and their awesome outfits, please.

What's the Deal? The coolest thing about this movie (aside from the fact that it looks like one of Gwen Stefani's erotic dreams) is that it's predicated on the knowledge that everybody is so uncomfortably cramped and on top of each other in Japan that you can't even have a normal drag race anywhere. They have to do them in underground parking garages and then drive sideways (the "drift" of the title) to make the very sharp turns. Then, like everything else in youth pop culture there, it becomes a gang with its own micro-culture.

Who's the Old Guy? And That Jock Dude at the Beginning Looks Familiar: The yakuza uncle guy in the hat is Sonny Chiba, a huge martial arts star of the '70s. He was also in Kill Bill, Vol. 1 as the sword master. The blond kid is Zachery Ty Bryan from Home Improvement, all grown up. Seeing him is freaky, like when Edward Scissorhands came out and you were like, "Whoa, is that big creep really Anthony Michael Hall?"

Two Cool Movies You Should See, One Related to This One and One Not So Much: First of all you need to check out director Justin Lin's first movie Shopping for Fangs, possibly the coolest werewolf movie ever (and I'm not forgetting Teen Wolf, Too just so you know). Then you should see Tokyo Drifter, a cool 1960s Japanese yakuza film that probably inspired at least part of this movie's title, if nothing else.

Best of All: Paul Walker isn't in it. His replacement, Lucas Black (Jarhead, Sling Blade), has more charisma in his left thumb than Walker has in his entire glowering body.

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