It's hard to believe nowadays that the Fast and the Furious film series was once in a state of basically putting out nothing but spin-offs. Because that's really what Tokyo Drift is. Even though they tied it into the other movies later, it had neither of its original stars (well, save for an ending cameo from one of them) and it took place in a completely new setting with a completely new kind of racing. If that's not a spin-off, I don't know what is.
This particular F&F installment centers around Sean, another one of them illegal street racers. Only he hasn't had the same luck as Vin Diesel at evading the cops. He's forced to go to Tokyo to live with his father to avoid going to jail. And once he's there, he gets introduced to a new form of racing... drift racing.
I found the first movie to be relatively forgettable (and I didn't even bother watching the second one). This one, despite its occasional efforts, is even more forgettable. The first one barely got by due in part due to some of the star power (mostly Vin Diesel). I wasn't a huge fan of Paul Walker in the first one, but Lucas Black (Sean) had me missing him. The only interesting character in this movie is Han, who actually delivers a fairly nice speech midway through the movie.
Tokyo Drift tries to interest one with its new form of racing, but it really just doesn't stick that well. Some of the driving is pretty impressive, but eventually the formula gets a little old considering it's basically the same type of moves and driving all the way through. Another thing I sort of liked more about the first movie was the vehicular action sequences (improbable as they often were), but you will find no such thing here. There is a pretty standard car chase, but it's nothing special. Just watching 105 minutes of racing with mostly boring characters really just isn't interesting to me.
And the plot? It's not the worst, but it's not particularly memorable either. The Japanese mafia is involved in this movie, but we get mostly stuck with the typical "descendant of mafia boss" as our main antagonist instead. And that's pretty much it. Young hotshots fighting for street cred and girl. And that's that.
It's not painful to watch or anything, and if you're up for 105 minutes of "drift racing" and hardly anything else interesting you might have an okay time with it. But if this film is any indication, the Fast and Furious series was definitely not anywhere close to quality material back in its early goings. Especially if the first one was the best of the first few, considering that one was mildly fun at best. It's a good thing that from here on out, at least we go back to our main stars and characters.