DRIFT RACING WEEK...
Yes, so, this Friday or Saturday, I fully intend on paying to see The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. This is one of my most anticipated films of the summer, not so much that I have any delusions that this is going to be a quality cinematic experience, nor is drift racing that much of a draw for me, but simply because my beloved Keiko Kitagawa, who played Rei Hino/Sailor Mars on the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is in it, playing a character named Reiko. She's the top-billed Japanese actress in this film, according to the Internet Movie Database's "Full Cast and Crew page", and she's above the "rest of the cast listed alphabetically" portion of the cast list, so I presume her role won't be of the "blink and miss it" variety and she'll actually have more than a minute or two of screentime.
Long before Sailor Moon became a live-action series, Sailor Mars had been my favourite Sailor Senshi (Sailor Warrior/Sailor Scout) by far, for being tough and serious, but, deep down, the most caring of the Sailor Senshi, as evidenced by the infamous penultimate episode of the first season of the Sailor Moon anime, "The Deaths Of The Sailor Soldiers! The Tragic Final Battle", where she was the last of the four protector Senshi to die, with her emotional final moments (and subsequent reappearance in spirit form) giving Sailor Moon the strength and support she needed to carry on towards the final confrontation with Queen Beryl/Metallia at the Dark Kingdom's secret Artic fortress located at "Point D".
I think that Keiko was, by far, the best of the live-action Sailor actresses, playing her part totally straight and serious, and playing her role with far more stone-faced gravitas than could possibly have been expected in a show that is pretty much otherwise pure camp. I can honestly say without much hyperbole that Keiko Kitagawa was to live-action Sailor Moon what Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are to the X-Men film franchise, serious actors playing inherently silly roles seriously.
Here's a new picture of Keiko Kitagawa at some kind of Japanese promotional event for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift that I stole from this Keiko Kitagawa fansite. Damn, she looks a lot more like a woman now, and a very attractive one at that (well, she is also a professional model and a Japanese "Miss Seventeen"). Like Chiaki Kuriyama, I think her face embodies all of the best aspects of Japanese beauty, but she has been naturally (well, hopefully naturally) endowed with facial features that are less "flat" than a lot of Asian faces, with high cheekbones and an almost Caucasian nose.
Also, in this specific picture, Keiko looks astonishingly like a younger version of Tia Carrere (Cassandra from Wayne's World, Sydney from Relic Hunter), though with lighter skin.
I'm not expecting The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift to break any summer box-office records, though, for this sort of B-movie, if it opens with $30 to $40 million domestic box office, it can be considered a resounding success. I don't care what the movie's like, I shall be happy to support Keiko Kitagawa's first step towards Hollywood stardom.
Not that I planned this all out in advance or anything like that, but I have a couple of reviews of car-related entertainment products besides The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift that I want to review or at least talk about, and, coincidentally, they also have drifting to some extent (there's not that much drifting in Pixar's Cars, but drifting does play a role in one plot point), so, eh, why not tie those upcoming entries loosely together in a series?
Oh, I see I'm not the only Blogspot blogger who wants a piece of Keiko.