Justin Lin, a Taiwanese-born director, entered the scene in 2002 with his solo directorial debut, Better Luck Tomorrow. The film, which centres around Asian-American high school seniors who get their hands dirty in various escalating crimes, was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at Sundance and was well-received by critics, including Roger Ebert. Most importantly though, the film would launch Justin’s career and afford him the opportunity to helm, and revive as some might say, the Fast & Furious franchise, beginning with Tokyo Drift up until the most recent Fast & Furious 6 – four films totalling nearly two billion dollars worldwide. So I guess it comes as no surprise that after Paramount gave word it had several directors in its pool of potential Star Trek 3 helmers, they chose this man.
J.J. Abrams was responsible for directing the first two, which grossed over 800 million dollars worldwide between them, but had to step down to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a move I believe we all can understand. But to be honest, I am not too worried about Justin taking the reins here. The man has experience with high-budget Hollywood films, a knack for the large-scale sets and intense action that makes our jaws drop, and, most importantly, based on reports of him refusing to direct big pictures based on poor scripts, an interest in the actual story opposed to just the numbers it will generate.
Roberto Orci is still one of the people behind the screenplay and will return to produce alongside J.J., with an expected 2016 release for the film. I’m often quite pessimistic when it comes to new instalments of highly popular franchises being taken over by new directors, but this time I feel quite the opposite.