A gritty and gratifying cheap thrill, Rob Cohen's high-octane hot-car meller is a true rarity these days, a really good exploitationer, the sort of thing that would rule at drive-ins if they still existed.
Returning the series to solid ground after 2 Fast 2 Furious leaned too heavily on cartoonish CGI effects, Tokyo Drift relies on old-fashioned stunt work that gives its best sequences a sense of brute physicality.
It doesn't matter that we know where it's going, what counts is that Cohen keeps his pedal to the floor and that his actors gun their lines with absolute conviction. Loud cars, fast music: this movie knows exactly what it's about.
Even those who've never heard of 'rice rockets' (Japanese imports souped up with computerized hydraulics and customized engines) might be charmed by the film's blend of kineticism, car-culture rituals, and hilariously flat-footed dialogue.