Before Star Trek Beyond hits theaters, take a look back with our Justin Lin movies spotlight!
Justin Lin is the man who made the Fast and Furious films into the mega blockbuster franchise that it has become. It’s easy to forget that no one expected The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift to do much of anything. But Lin built on his success in that film and reunited the original film’s stars for Fast & Furious, which sparked the series’ renewed popularity.
Lin began his career as a director with more personal projects, including Shopping for Fangs and Better Luck Tomorrow. Now Lin is better known for his action films and he’s branching out to sci-fi with Star Trek Beyond. This will be the first Star Trek reboot film that wasn’t directed by J.J. Abrams, and we don’t know yet what kind of Trek that Lin will deliver. The first trailer for Star Trek Beyond definitely had a more Fast and Furious vibe than we expected. The subsequent previews have been more encouraging.
Before fans will get to decide for themselves when Star Trek Beyond beams down into theaters on July 22, ComingSoon.net has made a retrospective of Lin’s films to date, including one that was just recently announced!
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Shopping for Fangs (1997)
Normally, you don’t find a director’s student film on their career spotlights, but Shopping for Fangs is unique. It was co-directed by Lin and his fellow student, Quentin Lee, and it has become a cult classic film among fans of Asian American cinema. Because of that status, Shopping for Fangs was actually released on home video.
Lin’s storyline revolved around Radmar Jao’s Phil, a man who thought that he was becoming a werewolf while coming to terms with his sexuality. Lee’s story followed Katherine (Jeanne Chin), a married woman who received “sexually suggestive” text messages from a lesbian waitress.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
Better Luck Tomorrow was Lin’s first solo effort as a director and the film that got him noticed in Hollywood. The movie revolved around a group of overachieving Asian students who became swept up in the criminal underworld. Believe it or not, Lin credits MC Hammer (yes, that MC Hammer) with saving the film when he came up with funding at a critical point. That’s why Hammer is credited as a producer.
The late film critic Roger Ebert was also a strong supporter of Better Luck Tomorrow, including a well-documented defense of Lin’s movie at the Sundance Film Festival. That ended up drawing more attention to Better Luck Tomorrow, and to Lin himself.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Annapolis (2006)
Annapolis is one of the rare films to fail in theaters and redeem itself on home video by finding an audience and success. This was Lin’s second movie, and it followed James Franco’s Jake Huard as he attempted to rebuild his life and make it through the U.S. Naval Academy.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
On paper, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift sounded like a potential disaster. A Fast and Furious film without Vin Diesel or Paul Walker in the lead didn’t seem like it had much of a chance. And yet the franchise would have gone direct-to-video years ago if Tokyo Drift hadn’t given it new life. The film followed Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) as he adapted to life in Japan and learned the art of drifting.
To cap off the movie, Diesel made a surprise cameo. And that led to much bigger things in the future.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Finishing the Game (2007)
Finishing the Game was a comedic departure for Lin. It was a mockumentary about the filming of Bruce Lee’s final movie, Game of Death, as the production team scrambled to finish it following Lee’s tragic demise.
For this film, Lin reunited with Franco and MC Hammer, both of whom had roles in the ensemble cast.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Fast & Furious (2009)
Most industry observers thought that the Fast and Furious franchise was all but over after Tokyo Drift. But apparently there was a real desire to see Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster reprise their roles from the original film. They all agreed to come back to the franchise, and Lin was retained as the director.
Fast & Furious shocked everyone with its massive box office, and it was only the beginning of the film series’ second wind.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Fast Five (2011)
Two years later, Fast Five brought the franchise to even greater heights when Lin introduced Dwayne “ The Rock” Johnson as Luke Hobbs, a new adversary for Diesel’s Dom. The combined star power of Johnson and Diesel as well as the new and returning cast members drove Fast Five to a previously-unmatched April opening weekend box office record.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Fast Five did so well in April that Universal moved Fast & Furious 6 to Memorial Day and made it one of the year’s biggest summer pictures. This time, Fast & Furious 6 set a Memorial Day box office studio record for Universal and placed Luke, Dom, Brian, and the rest on the same team as they attempted to take down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and retrieve Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz.
This was Lin’s final Fast and Furious movie… for now. But Diesel has indicated that he wants Lin to return for the final movie. At the moment, that would be the previously-announced Fast and Furious 10. Ten movies? That is crazy…
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Star Trek Beyond is a big question mark. Can Lin make the transition from action to sci-fi? And can he make a film that has broad appeal with Star Trek fans and the general public? The jury is still out on that one, and even the press hasn’t seen the film yet.
What we do know is that the story finds Captain Kirk and his crew stuck on an alien planet without their ship, as they come under attack from Krall (Idris Elba) and his forces.
Justin Lin Movies Spotlight: Space Jam 2
Last month, Lin was confirmed to be in talks to direct the long-rumored Space Jam 2, with basketball superstar LeBron James as the new star, stepping in for Michael Jordan as the live-action co-star of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Looney Tunes. We have no idea if this is actually going to happen, but given the way that the NBA playoffs have unfolded, perhaps Warner Bros. should go with Stephen Curry instead of James.[Gallery not found]