I have a horrible feeling that I've seen both of the first two Fast and the Furious films, although it's possible I've seen one of them and the sequel looked so similar that I convinced myself that I'd seen it. Certainly, if you're a lover of fast, noisy cars with lots of neon lights, women in skimpy outfits and lots of macho posturing, this is the film for you. I have a push bike and failed my driving test. Twice. Nuff said. Curiously, after BT (ugh) and David Arnold (better), Brian Tyler is the third composer to take a joy ride and, in all honesty, nothing about the score surprises me in the least, but there's nothing especially wrong with that. It just fulfills expectations and at least has the decency to fulfill them in a more inspiring way than many along similar lines.
Unsurprisingly, there is a song album for Tokyo Drift but Tyler's underscore pretty much picks up where the songs leave off. There's plenty of electronic percussion and other assorted non-acoustic production that plays along at a speed relative to the happening on screen. Naturally, there are plenty of manic episodes, notably the titular, lengthy second track, but a lot are of the sort that are just there to provide background atmosphere to groups of petrolheads hanging about talking up their motors. It's the kind of music where there's too much going on for it really to become boring, if not exactly a great deal of substance. A few approach some substance; Neela Drifts is lovely, albeit in a Trevor Rabin/Jerry Bruckheimer kind of way (actually it's strongly reminiscent of Zimmer's Mission: Impossible 2, as are bits of the action cues, but technically far more accomplished here).
The orchestra doesn't make a massive impression, save for the splendid Symphonic Touge which is what this score would be like if synths had never been invented. However, DK vs Han and Downtown Tokyo Chase are prime examples of Tyler effectively weaving the orchestral elements in and out of the synthetic, rather than just grafting them on top. For what it is, Toyko Drift is good entertainment (if a touch long) and certainly considerably above average for the genre. Anyone wanting something a bit more traditional will be sorely disappointed, but it motors along with plenty of energy and a surprisingly amount of variation on the basic rock/electronic elements, capped with a smattering of orchestra. Does exactly what it says on the tin: Fast and Furious.