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DRIVE FAST PAST THEATER ON THIS ONE.

Byline: Glenn Whipp Film Critic

Not far into the terminally dull ``The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,'' the movie's hayseed hero, Sean (Lucas Black), is sent packing to Japan, having run afoul of the law yet again after crashing another car in a high-speed race. His dad (Brian Goodman) greets him and sternly lays down the law: Go to school. Come home. ``And I don't want to see or hear about you coming near a car.''

Of course, Sean spends the rest of the movie blazing through the streets of Tokyo, wrecking cars, destroying property, endangering lives and ignoring every emissions warning Al Gore detailed in ``An Inconvenient Truth.'' We don't really hear from Dad again until late in the movie when he suddenly appears, gun drawn, backing up his boy, telling him, ``At least you're not redoing my mistakes.''

At least now we understand why Sean was living with his mother at the start of the movie.

Say what you will about Neil Moritz's ``Fast and Furious'' franchise, but the first entry nailed the youth-culture genre, and John Singleton's 2003 follow-up provided solid B-movie entertainment.

``Tokyo Drift'' has no story and no stars. That just leaves the rides, which are shiny and loud and fast and sometimes just as computer-generated as their counterparts in Pixar's ``Cars.''

Director Justin Lin (``Better Luck Tomorrow,'' ``Annapolis'') maintains the series' commitment to keeping the camera at butt level whenever it comes near a young woman. Writer Chris Morgan (``Cellular'') follows suit, making all the movie's girls either models, prostitutes or daughters of prostitutes and/or models. Given the women's wardrobe of miniskirts, thigh-high boots and midriff-baring tops, this could be seen as a nod toward naturalism rather than pandering to the movie's young male demographic. (Could be.)

Where the filmmakers utterly fail is coming up with any kind of interesting conflict. Sean bumps heads with D.K (Brian Tee), aka ``Drift King,'' but their rivalry 7/8 presumably over a ``mysterious'' girl (Nathalie Kelley) 7/8 is factory-issued. The Japan locales are largely wasted, save for one beautifully shot nighttime sequence of cars drifting down a long and winding mountain road. Tellingly, it's the one moment in the movie that doesn't needily call attention to itself.

Glenn Whipp, (818) 713-3672.

glenn.whipp@dailynews.com

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT - One star

(PG-13: reckless and illegal behavior involving teens, violence, language, sexual content)

Starring: Lucas Black, Nathalie Kelley, Brian Tee.

Director: Justin Lin.

Running time: 1 hr. 44 min.

Playing: In wide release.

In a nutshell: No stars, no story - just shiny cars, often as computer-generated as their counterparts in Pixar's ``Cars.'' Terminally dull.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 16, 2006
Words:443
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