16 Jan

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Ah yes, The Fast and the Furious, our old standby. As you know, we are working our way through the extended catalogue of The Fast and the Furious films in preparation for the newest release in April. This week, we got to the cult classic of the series: Tokyo Drift. Loved by few, loved-to-hate by many, Tokyo Drift is a special member of the Fast and the Furious franchise and has found its way into the hearts of many. We thought it deserved an extra-special meal.

The Meal

It should not come as a surprise that we chose Japanese for our meal. Instead of our gourmet Sharknado approach to Japanese food, we decided to honor the spirit of the Fast and the Furious movies by making quick and tasty food that everyone can enjoy, possibly even on the go. Looking at you Japanese Businessman who commutes the work over an hour a day, drinks at night and needs something to fill the void of a stomach in between.

For our appetizer, we made mixed vegetable tempura (天ぷら). Here at Munch, sometimes we set our sights high, and this time around we decided not to stop at just two types of vegetables but instead picked five: king oyster mushrooms, lotus root, green beans, kabocha, and the strongly flavored shiso leaf. We imagined that these fried vegetables were exactly the kind of snack that Han would like to munch on in his free time or really any time, knowing Han.

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Next up, we made gyudon (牛丼) for our main course. Gyudon is a common quick eat in Japan, the kind that we could see Han picking up on his way home from a night out at a secret back room club that is already within the secret back room of another club that also happens to have access to a large garage of cars. Making it was pretty simple: we just sautéed an onion and thin-sliced beef, added a little bit of sake, mirin, and soy sauce, poured a couple of whisked eggs over it, and then served it all over a bed of rice. We garnished it with chopped green onion and pickled red ginger.

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We concluded the meal with ice cream covered with homemade mochi. We made some with plain vanilla ice cream, inspired by the packs often sold in Japanese convenience stores, and the exact kind that Han probably gorges on in between drifting and collecting money for the Japanese mafia. We also added red bean paste to some and made a few with green tea ice cream.

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The Drinks

Our source on all things Japanese (our very own Ben Mouch) turned down all craft cocktail ideas. Apparently, in Japan it is much more common to have simple cocktails, with just two ingredients. We made whisky highballs (ハイボール), which are quite popular, and while we couldn’t find any Japanese whisky in particular, we felt that the effect was the same. We also sipped on some Sapporo which we felt was fitting given the style of the meal. (Sidenote: the cans that they come in are some kind of modern marvel and every other beer manufacturer should adopt them. Seriously.)

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The Rules

  1. Drink every time someone pops open a hood.
  2. Drink every time Han snacks.
  3. Drink whenever someone says “gaijin” (outsider).

The Movie

Tokyo Drift opens at a high school populated by actors who are all clearly in their late 20s/early 30s. Our protagonist, Sean Boswell, was the oldest-looking of the bunch, but apparently he is just 17 (there is a line in the movie that is something to the effect of “all before your eighteenth birthday”). We were convinced his character is actually pretty stupid that, compounded with all the moving he has had to do, has been held back more than a couple times, but his parents told him he was 17 so that he wouldn’t feel so bad about being 28 and still in high school.

This guy was dumb as a rock. He street races in a car with no air bag, he challenges the a major figure in the Yakuza who ends up being DK (the drift king) to a race despite not owning a car, and then proceeds to hit on the Yakuza boss’s girlfriend. He just really didn’t get it. Luckily for Sean, machismo and driving skill are valued above all else in the world of the Fast and The Furious, so he got by just fine.

A great addition to the movie was Bow Wow. Granted, he is a poor man’s Ludacris, but he still lightened up the movie quite a bit. Whether he was cruising around in his Hulk car or helping Sean navigate his way through the Tokyo underworld, Bow Wow shined in every scene. He really was the saving grace in the film because after Sean got himself into trouble, Bow Wow was always there to get us back into gear.

When critiquing most films, many critics would be drawn to discussing the story, but there just isn’t much to say about the plot of Tokyo Drift. It started with a race, which indebted Sean to the Yakuza, and, after a few more race scenes, ended with a race, in which Sean was able to pay off his debt to the Yakuza, just by winning the race. No one ever discussed what would happen if Sean lost. All we knew was that if he won, his debt would be erased.

We have a hard time believing that the head of one of the world’s most renown crime organizations would agree to such a clearly one-sided bet. So, we concocted that the entire universe that The Fast and the Furious franchise takes place in is run by car races and cars reign supreme. Got into some trouble with the law? Well, as long as you are a really good driver that’s fine. Decided to spend the money your friend was saving for college? Well, let’s hope you are good at racing. Got caught with your hand in the cake that is for the president’s daughter’s sweet sixteen bash because you were looking for the ring that you were going to give your future partner that, during the course of an acid trip, you baked it into this specific cake that was supposed to look like the Nintendo character Kirby? Well, let’s just hope your NOS timing is on point and all of your problems just fade away.

Don’t get us wrong, we completely love the idea of that world, and Tokyo Drift is all the better because of it.

There is only one way to finish out this post and it is from one of the moments when the Fast and the Furious series gets deep and introspective on you.

“Life’s simple, you make choices, and you don’t look back.”

– Han

We aren’t looking back.

The Ratings

Andre: 500 hp. Other than the lack of a plot, the script that appeared to be written by a bunch of car-enthused high schoolers, and the bizzare casting decisions, I thought Tokyo Drift was a great movie. Can’t wait to see Sean return in Fast and the Furious 7.

Leanna: 8 Teslas out of 10. I hope that when Lucas Black returns in Fast 7 he’s taken a few acting classes, but I’m really excited about the how Tokyo Drift will tie into the next (at least) four movies. I didn’t expect the writers of this franchise to weave such an intricate plot together, but I’m intrigued and excited for what’s next in this car-ruled universe.

Ben: 88% I will confess that I am the one that actually owns this film, in all of its Full-Screen DVD glory, and I am completely okay with that! This movie is a lot of fun, as is the whole franchise, with one big caveat: you have to be able to turn your brain off for a little bit. Even with Tokyo Drift being the low point in the series, at least critically, the change in style of racing really gave the series a new set of wheels that seems to have allowed them to go that extra mile. There seems to be no stopping on this high speed adventure, and I doubt that there will ever be a finish line in sight. If you feel like going for a ride, hop in on this hot wheels of a movie franchise. (In other words if you have not partaken in the wonderful world of The Fast and the Furious, you should do so soon.)

Predictions For Furious 7: (SPOILERS)

I think it is appropriate to start out this bonus bit with a big ‘ol SPOILERS tag, because we are about to get deep about the timeline, who is confirmed for Furious 7, and what we imagine the storyline of Fast 7 to be – all without watching the three movies in between (Ben has just seen Fast Five).

In Tokyo Drift, a pivotal moment for Sean is when Han gets in a wreck, his car flips over, and then all of the sudden it bursts into flames. It is assumed that he dies, and we think that is a safe assumption. But, and here’s where it gets tricky, isn’t he in Fast & Furious (we will refer to is as F4), Fast 5 (F5), Fast & Furious 6 (F6), and Furious 7 (F7)? What’s going on?

In the deep and very nuanced timeline of the Fast and the Furious series, Tokyo Drift actually happens after F4, F5, and F6 and F7. We did some credit searching, though, and it looks like Sean from Tokyo Drift will be making an appearance in F7. If you are asking yourself, “Wait, how does that play into the timeline? Wouldn’t he be 16? Doesn’t he meet Han and Dom in Tokyo Drift?” then you had the exact same thought process we did.

But imagine this: credits roll on F7, screen goes dark… BOOM. After credits sequence with Sean, Dom, and the usual crew starting a heist (we like to imagine Bow Wow included), it goes wrong, cliff hanger (maybe even literally with a car teetering on the edge of a cliff), screen goes dark again, collective groan, and then, in a quick flash on the screen, REALLY FAST AND REALLY FURIOUS 8 – COMING 2017.

The other possibility is that 7 will take place before/during the events of Tokyo Drift, but from Vin Deisel’s perspective, and the movie will end with the exact same scene as Tokyo Drift, with Vin cruising up to Sean and saying “Hi.” We really hope Sean is in it more than that though, but right now it’s too soon to tell.

Another option is that Han actually DID die in Tokyo Drift, and Tokyo Drift takes place between F6 and F7. In F7, we will be re-introduced to an older, faster, and more furious Sean, and he will have several flashbacks featuring Han. Maybe this movie will start out with that same Vin-Sean scene, and Sean just hops in the car with Vin. Or maybe Vin has to beat Sean in a race to earn his trust first. Yeah, the movie is actually probably going to start with a Sean-Vin race. Prediction: Vin wins, so Sean owes him a favor.

We have a lot of ideas about this film, and even if more than of few of them are wrong Furious 7 is shaping up to be a crazy ride.

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