Monday, January 29, 2007

Cars and Maculinity 101

Even if you go in to watch The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift expecting it to be bad, you'd still be surprised by its flatness. Relocating the lead character to Tokyo and trying to drum up some parochialism doesn't give the worn out plot any legs at all. And the races, though tight and polished, don't seem to have any stakes worth caring for.

However, a variation on an old Indian saying goes: even a pool of mud can house a Lotus. There were several interesting things I learned about cars and masculinity from the movie.

In the opening sequence Lucas Black and Zachary Ty Bryan decide on a car race as the best way to decide who the girl (Nikki Griffin) will end up with (pic below, left). A cheerleader pulls out her bra and whips it in the air as both Black and Bryan gun their engines. When the pink bra lands on the tarmac (below, right), both cars whip past - sending it flying in the air. Whoo-hooo! This is the kind of stuff stuff first year classes in Womens Studies are built around.

No matter what anyone tells you, hot chicks care deeply about cars, often opening the hood and admiring the insides while dressed scantily (below, left). And they love to party with guys who talk about nothing but cars all day (below, right).

Also, look, a guy may fly down from the US to meet his Dad in Tokyo, not having seen him for years and all Dad may have for him are a few gruff words (pic below, left). Hey, where's my hug Dad? But put a car and a few tools between them and they'll bond for like, a few minutes even (below, right).

Boy, there are a lot of good looking girls in Tokyo, but the only girls worth getting into trouble over are the ones already being treated like someone else's property (below, top left). Covet them, even if you might end up getting your nuts kicked (below, top right). In fact, get the whole family to join in (below, bottom).

Drifting in cars on dangerous mountain bends in nothing but moonlight can actually be quite romantic and a great suicidal first date (below, left). Even better, you can score phone numbers by scorching a gigantic wheelie around a car with chicks in it (below, right).

Remember, whenever in trouble (below, left) use a car race to sort it out (below, right). It works every time whether it is over women, money or honor!

Finally a quick word on actors Brian Tee (Drift King) and Suan Kang (Han). Both bring a welcome respite to the rest of the charmless performances in the movie. Tee manages to pull off a glowering bad guy without getting mired in the usual cliches. Kang brings a hang dog coolness to the movie that survives the many limp lines he has been given.

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