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

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