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June 19, 2006 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-06-19

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4

12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 19, 2006

Hot rides
can't best
tepid plot
By Christina Choi
.Daily Arts Writer
Stock cars are for pansies.
As "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo
Drift" demon-
strates, only the The Fast and
most radically the Furious:
transformed and Tok Drift
-tricked-out vehicles yo
are worthy of being At the Showcase
driven. The result- and Quality 16
ing rides are utter- Universal
ly seductive and
promise a gripping storyline to follow.
Yet despite a brand-new cast and exotic
locale, the film's glamorous rides are
dampened by a predictable storyline.
Sean (Lucas Black, "Jarhead") plays
the army-brat version of Paul Walker
("The Fast and the Furious") with a
Southern background that's ever pres-
ent in his grits-infused twang. He's
a Nos-loving teenager who's above
caring about school. This could be
because numerous close-ups expose
Black's obvious age lines, but that's
OK considering his initial love inter-
est, Cindy (Nikki Griffin, TV's "The
O.C."), is actually pushing 30. Clearly,
immortality is only a teenage part and
cabbage diet away in Hollywood.
After a street race gone awry in the
States, Sean is shipped off to Tokyo to
live with his estranged military father,

Cult favorite hits DVD

"There's no way you're getting your keys back until I get some tongue."

Major Boswell (Brian Goodman,
"Annapolis"). Boswell is the quint-
essential well-intentioned dad who
doesn't mind saving Sean from gun-
point just as long as he never makes
the same mistakes he did.
Sean is soon smitten by Neela
(newcomer Nathalie Kelley), an
inevitably beautiful Australian who's
involved in the intoxicating world of
drift racing. A refreshing departure
from classic street racing, drift racing
involves break tight turns performed
at excessive speeds. The current drift
king in Tokyo, appropriately dubbed
D.K. (Brian Tee, "Fun with Dick and
Jane"), is dating Neela, creating an
effortless setting for heated brawls
and gut-wrenching heartache.
The film prides itself on utilizing cars
that few humans ever glimpse, let alone
drive in their lifetimes. By dangling this
eye candy in front of those who still sur-
vive on weekly allowances, the allure of
this reckless lifestyle is skillfully pitched

to the right audience. And albeit their
obvious detractions from reality, scenes
consisting of hardcore driving, sharp
lighting and bass-loaded music consti-
tute the best moments of the film.
But the gaps between these races
are sloppily bridged by mediocre
characters and dialogue. Even Hans
(Sung Kang, "The Motel"), Sean's
race-savvy mentor, cannot escape cli-
ches when he reminds his proteg6 that
there's more to life than racing.
To distract from these flaws, the
film abounds with scantily clad Asian
women who are all eager to be seduced
by the right set of wheels. Han proves
his status to one such vixen by tight-
ly drifting in circles around her car.
With this precedent, it's only fitting
that the most romantic scene in the
film consists of watching cars silently
tackle turns in the moonlight. Amid
this backdrop of purring engines, it's
clear that true love is only measurable
by the quality of a man's ride.

By Jeffrey Bloomer
Managing Editor
DVD RE
When life is this good, there's no turn-
ing back. Reductively touted as the male
spin-off of the late
"Sex and the City,"
HBO's L.A.-set Entourage:
movie-star-on- The Complete
the-rocks comedy Second
series "Entourage" Season
hit an uncommon
stride in its second HBO
season, rallying
a cult audience and effectively transform-
ing itself into the pop-culture manifesto of
modern Hollywood.
Though bearing the same cinematic
aesthetic and four-friend stronghold of
its counterpart, "Entourage" changes
coasts and a lot more: Relationships take
a backseat (though they're certainly here)
to the show's mnore compelling interest in
Hollywood as a business, a cultural epi-
center and a way of life. The show's frank
writers and producers not only tap into
the ferocious beating heart of the indus-
try but remain in acute conversation with
its cultural backbone, channeling both its
outer and inner workings through a clan
of four friends from Brooklyn, one of
whom made it big.
"Entourage" carved new and lasting
life for itself in its second season, with
ingenious preemptive strikes on the part
of the producers who have a preternatural
feel for the show's weaknesses. Turtle is
made into more than the free-wheeling
tag-along ofyesteryearand becomes ahip-
hop producer; Ari "Let's-hug-it-out-bitch"
Gold's airtight career begins to slip; and
Vince, not E, falls hard for a girl. Com-
ing off of an already strong first season

held back by its incidental, obstacle-of-
the-week structure, the producers develop
the series' first bona fide storylines that
have carried on into the new third season,
which debuted last Sunday.
Said to be modeled from sketches of
Mark Wahlberg's career circathe TumBur-
ton remake of "Planet of the Apes" (Wahl-
berg serves as an exec producer),the second
season follows Vince (Adrian Griener), E
(Kevin Connolly), Drama (Kevin Dillon)
and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara)through the rocky
road leading up to the production of James
Cameron's "Aquaman" and Vince's brief
re-fling with co-star Mandy Moore (who
plays a fresh-faced caricature of herself in
four episodes). Ari's firing fromthe agency
also takes center stage, which leads him to
bond with Lloyd, his gay Chinese-Ameri-
can assistant who the writers steadfastly
refuse to stereotype. ("If I was 25 and liked
cock, we might actually have something,"
Ari tells him. How sweet)
Howtheproducerscontinuetolandsuch
a steady line of guest stars is a puzzlement
they would do well to keep to themselves
(the second season saw Cameron, Bono
and, inevitably, Hugh Hefner), but what-
ever they're playing at, they are in obvious
control of the medium,steadily sending the
show into the ranks of the network's very
best television. That the DVD release has
such scant features (Wahlberg interviews
the cast - hold me back) is regrettable but
beside the point, because with 14 episodes
on three discs, there's no real room for
complaint.Itsexposure alreadythroughthe
roof, the show may become the smooth-
edged poster child for 'OOs pop culture,
a rare industry introspection of the most
entertaining order. As with Vince, there's
no question: This one is on the rise.
Show: ****
Special Features: **

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