RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

It's the franchise detour that became a cult favorite and delivered one of the Fast series' most beloved characters – #JusticeForHan! – but is this tale of a gaijin among the drift kings actually good?

by | June 17, 2021 | Comments

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

(Photo by © Universal / Courtesy the Everett Collection)

Once known as the red-headed stepchild of the Fast and Furious franchise, a kind of strange pit stop that lacked the series’ main stars and failed to rev up the box office, Tokyo Drift has come to be seen in a much different light in the 15 years since its initial theatrical release. It has developed a cult following that argues it is a franchise high point; director Justin Lin has gone on to direct four more Fast installments; and it eventually became so influential that many of its main characters were brought back into the fold and the entire series’ timeline was shifted to accommodate them.

Listen Now: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher TuneIn | Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19

Of course, it also has the Han factor. Sung Kang’s charismatic turn as Han Lue, who first appeared in Lin’s indie hit Better Luck Tomorrow and acts as a mentor to Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) in Tokyo Drift, was so undeniably standout that many felt he should have been the film’s central character. No surprise then that despite his death in the movie, the Fast gods found ways to bring him back… and then accidentally antagonized the fan base when they turned the man responsible for his death into a hero, a decision that kicked off a #JusticeForHan online campaign and ensured that Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw would never be accepted by at last one corner of the Fast fanbase.

So, Tokyo Drift has, like some shoddily souped-up car that no one gave a chance, somehow raced to the front of the Fast pack in many fans’ hearts over the years and changed the trajectory of a multi-billion-dollar franchise. And calls for #JusticeForHan look to be answered with Kang’s return in the latest film, F9, releasing later this month. But is The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift actually… good? Does it deserve its swelling cult status?

That’s what we’re asking in the latest episode of our podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast from Rotten Tomatoes) in which co-hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis are joined by Los Angeles Times film reporter Jen Yamato, a diehard Tokyo Drift fan who amplified the #JusticeForHan cause and has written about it in the pages of her paper. Yamato is also co-host of the acclaimed Asian Enough podcast, which has featured guests like Vice President Kamala Harris, filmmaker Lulu Wang, and, of course, Sung Kang.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Awards Tumblr Election Lifetime Christmas movies zombies miniseries FXX Apple TV+ blaxploitation critics anime Creative Arts Emmys History crime Disney documentary screenings See It Skip It NYCC richard e. Grant Cannes dramedy crossover A&E 4/20 Nat Geo rotten romance south america women WarnerMedia versus Legendary President halloween vs. RT21 Disney+ Disney Plus Teen Crunchyroll game show Mary Poppins Returns NBC X-Men Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spinoff stop motion Travel Channel MCU Instagram Live political drama prank Rocky kids 2017 blockbuster El Rey saw The Purge breaking bad Paramount Network Pet Sematary parents classics Quiz superman FX on Hulu hispanic nbcuniversal french Amazon Studios Premiere Dates 2018 2015 zombie TruTV Showtime Adult Swim Toys spy thriller scene in color genre independent anthology rt labs critics edition sag awards Film Festival unscripted chucky The Academy fresh Black Mirror Comic Book rom-coms The Witch cats OneApp police drama discovery lord of the rings Star Trek Reality Character Guide war Holidays Epix black sequels olympics cancelled godzilla spanish docudrama mutant archives Amazon Superheroes streaming movies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Syfy comic book movie Brie Larson LGBTQ green book Valentine's Day art house NBA travel Disney Plus 24 frames Broadway SDCC AMC Shondaland Avengers Turner Classic Movies Thanksgiving quibi hispanic heritage month joker Hallmark Christmas movies FOX Horror child's play japanese 90s Television Academy Peacock stand-up comedy thriller 71st Emmy Awards sopranos AMC Plus Comic-Con@Home 2021 ghosts franchise king arthur Red Carpet movie target ABC Signature 21st Century Fox natural history razzies Grammys legend Paramount Plus basketball Black History Month slasher Tarantino latino royal family robots remakes Turner Ghostbusters slashers young adult Women's History Month criterion popular Marvel jurassic park monster movies technology Apple TV Plus Alien zero dark thirty supernatural MSNBC Stephen King period drama game of thrones dogs TLC TV true crime 45 BET Awards Countdown Holiday rt labs dexter book diversity science fiction PlayStation fast and furious VOD Film spider-verse reboot 73rd Emmy Awards japan know your critic Lionsgate series space 99% Hulu politics Box Office Anna Paquin Fox Searchlight YA Podcast what to watch trailers live action toy story dc 007 BAFTA Opinion TV movies Television Critics Association hidden camera Musical A24 adenture gangster Binge Guide universal monsters comiccon CMT CNN spanish language Extras twilight HBO Go TV One The Arrangement Pixar casting Spectrum Originals Animation Sundance TV hollywood ABC Family San Diego Comic-Con theme song satire singing competition obituary jamie lee curtis Infographic TBS Britbox DC Universe dragons werewolf Acorn TV Food Network australia golden globes FX cancelled TV shows news romantic comedy YouTube 2019 all-time Esquire Music laika renewed TV shows Netflix Christmas movies live event indiana jones comic award winner Trophy Talk critic resources 72 Emmy Awards witnail Trailer king kong rotten movies we love finale mockumentary Heroines superhero IFC Marvel Television stoner Awards Tour SundanceTV Trivia directors Super Bowl Crackle CBS USA Network VH1 Set visit spain Freeform Shudder New York Comic Con Sony Pictures TIFF nature golden globe awards Classic Film Funimation sitcom Winners Photos Lifetime TCA Awards Dark Horse Comics serial killer Universal PBS APB vampires Christmas heist movie harry potter italian Calendar cops die hard ID Chernobyl dark cooking Year in Review Tomatazos marvel comics Best and Worst streaming BBC One video on demand historical drama docuseries OWN new star wars movies American Society of Cinematographers CW Seed binge worst movies teaser Certified Fresh Hallmark Biopics new zealand Arrowverse Drama mcc E3 international disaster Academy Awards IFC Films screen actors guild crime drama Captain marvel Emmys festivals mob Baby Yoda First Look Columbia Pictures Sci-Fi Endgame spider-man television Comedy tv talk Spring TV TCA Video Games Disney streaming service Pop TV Mudbound Pirates Pop strong female leads comic books Spike asian-american video pirates of the caribbean The CW posters The Walking Dead wonder woman ITV sports TV Land DirecTV Lucasfilm Discovery Channel cancelled TV series ABC Fall TV Summer Sundance Now Mindy Kaling cancelled television CBS All Access Star Wars kong Rock TCA 2017 Family MTV based on movie Oscars dreamworks Watching Series debate 2021 Tokyo Olympics dceu blockbusters IMDb TV 2016 Emmy Nominations psychological thriller animated Kids & Family boxoffice National Geographic 20th Century Fox emmy awards Sundance kaiju VICE action-comedy Pacific Islander TCA Winter 2020 Rom-Com canceled revenge Image Comics Comedy Central cars adventure black comedy Martial Arts Warner Bros. suspense HBO nfl Netflix canceled TV shows TV renewals Song of Ice and Fire Mary Tyler Moore Wes Anderson Vudu Tubi comics Marvel Studios GoT composers Hear Us Out venice HBO Max Neflix Universal Pictures social media GIFs Elton John Rocketman Comics on TV concert crime thriller Logo boxing E! Country DC streaming service cinemax festival films biopic facebook Marathons Amazon Prime 1990s SXSW documentaries elevated horror TCM Sneak Peek DGA USA aliens Musicals Masterpiece indie BBC America Mary poppins sequel transformers batman scorecard Nominations Writers Guild of America Cosplay Amazon Prime Video The Walt Disney Company comedies Reality Competition Fox News ratings scary marvel cinematic universe rt archives talk show football Action Western YouTube Red cartoon Winter TV toronto high school First Reviews Ovation RT History foreign PaleyFest medical drama DC Comics best Disney Channel christmas movies mission: impossible biography cults feel good book adaptation adaptation worst BET 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards 93rd Oscars Ellie Kemper james bond ViacomCBS psycho Apple comic book movies 2020 justice league hist halloween tv Interview Superheroe Paramount movies reviews WGN deadpool children's TV Bravo a nightmare on elm street YouTube Premium Schedule doctor who ESPN LGBT scary movies Starz Nickelodeon Pride Month Fantasy Mystery Exclusive Video GLAAD BBC TNT telelvision free movies Cartoon Network aapi new york Polls and Games Walt Disney Pictures name the review