THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT [2006] review

July 28, 2006

A white 1979 Mustang was the first car I ever owned, bought when I was still only 15 and technically not legal to drive it (at least on my own). I used to sit in it in my driveway waiting for the day I would turn 16 and be able to take “The Pony” out on to the Road. … Therefore, it was pretty easy for me to dig THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT, the third movie in the franchise. It’s always cool to see your neighborhood in a movie. One of the streets they raced down is only a 5 minute walk from my apartment. The hyper crowded pedestrian crossing they drifted across I’ve walked across many times as well (Shibuya crossing). I even recognized them zooming down the main drag in Ginza, during Christmas time by the line of Christmas trees along the way.

…But I’ll keep my eyes open for such things from now on.

The script is of course peppered with cliche lines like, “while your under my roof you’ll follow my rules” and the such. The good thing is they are just throwaway lines and no heed is paid to them whatsoever. … If you dig cars, if you dig seeing stick shifts being slammed down, and clutches being stomped on, well, this movie will have you stoked from start to finish.

The acting by the main characters is good enough, and the action scenes carry the rest with ease. If you think the movie was somehow overstocked with hot j-girls, it was not. It’s no problem to walk through Shibuya and see endless hot j-girls, scantily clad and well tanned, stream on by.

I did not see the second installment in this series, just the first, which I really liked as well.

…There’s nothing I like seeing better than a Mustang being put through its paces, even if it has a Nissan engine in it. After watching this movie, I rally feel like driving, and I really miss my beloved Pony.

YOURS MINE AND OURS [2005] review

July 24, 2006

I heard sometime last year somewhere that YOURS MINE AND OURS was one of the best movies of 2005. I can’t remember where. And I had no idea of the plot, other than it was some kind of family drama, a serious one presumably. So when I heard the opening music I was puzzled, and then even more so when the Nickelodeon logo flashed on the screen. I kept on watching though and before my eyes unfolded a kind of whacky family movie based on a strict coast guard military dad run family joining and colliding with a hippie mother run family.

I enjoyed it and went along for the ride.

Later I realized I was totally mistaken as it was ranked very low on IMDB and Roger Ebert’s review was not good either. I faltered a bit in my feelings toward it, but I’d still recommend it as a purely feel-good movie. All the kids performances were energetic and always gave you something to look at. I really appreciated the rules and system Dennis Quaid as the strict military dad put in place with his own 8 kids and later tried to put in place with his new wife’s TEN kids. Got to have order.

Is the movie totally predictable? Of course. But I felt good after it, and I don’t even like kids.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST [2006] review

July 24, 2006

I was looking forward to PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST very much, and left the theater sorely disappointed. How this movie set a new opening weekend box office record is beyond me. Yet it is no doubt a sequel, with the bigger budget showing in every frame, usually for the worse. No whimsey, no charm, no comprehensible plot. Way too much CGI, way too many Cracken attacks that all looked the same.

I liked the depiction of Davy Jones. Great mannerisms. And Orlando Bloom’s character grew up and took charge, and I liked the subplot involving his newly found father.

But none of those characters are why people went to see the movie. They of course went to see Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Even he was off this time, lost in the scenery and CGI, not given any scenes to show his ingenuity and cleverness.

Will I see the third movie next summer? Probably, but I won’t be looking forward to it.