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Death Race

A movie directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

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It's junk, but it delivers the goods.

  • Nov 7, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+2
DEATH RACE delivers pretty much exactly what it sets out to deliver. If you're expecting anything like convincing character development (or ANY character development), a credible plot or incisive dialogue…you have not read the description of the film or seen any of the previews. If, however, you are looking for a film with lots of car chase action, gory deaths and more car chase action with a touch of gunfire…then DEATH RACE fits that bill.

It's just a couple of years in the future, but apparently, our economy has gotten worse, and our prison population has exploded. Run by private companies, the penal system has developed a novel way to make money. They have inmates chase each other around a lengthy track in the middle of the prison island in souped-up, heavily modified and armored vehicles. A race to the death. Millions upon millions of Americans pay up to $99 to get live streams of these races. (I did the math…apparently each race must gross somewhere between $4.5 and $7 BILLION!)

Jason Statham is framed for the murder of his wife, just so he can be imprisoned and compelled to race. If he can win, he will be freed and can see his infant daughter again. You see, Statham was a famous race car driver at one time, but fell on hard times. Now he, and his rag-tag team of mechanics (led by Ian McShane), must wage battle against the most ferociously resilient moving vehicles ever devised. And Statham also wants to find out who killed his wife and how the warden (Joan Allen…I hope she received a HUGE paycheck for lowering herself to this junk) is involved.

I will give the movie credit for not skimping on the chase scenes. They are lengthy, noisy, fast, crazily edited, violent and satisfying on a visceral level. Many lower budget action films will promise lots of action, but have lots of scenes of endless talking instead. DEATH RACE gives us a quick, brutal opening race and then three more lengthy races to enjoy during the duration of the film. The action in the races defies the laws of physics, of course…but there are inventive moments of mayhem.

Jason Statham, who can be fun (THE BANK JOB showed he actually has skills. The CRANK films show he has a sense of humor) is fairly flat in this film. Allen plays her part exactly the same throughout. McShane chews the scenery, but he comes closest to making something of the sketchy dialogue and character he is given. Tyrese Gibson, as a rival driver delivers yet another flat, uninteresting performance.

I'm actually thinking this film should be 3.5 stars. It is, on any critical or analytical level, pure junk. But with your sound system turned to 11 and your brain turned to about 2…it features well-made violence and chaos which can be enjoyed for 90 guilty-pleasure minutes.

(By the way, I haven't seen Roger Corman's DEATH RACE 2000 in decades…but I think the two films bear little resemblance. Corman gets a producing credit here…but honestly, the film has more in common with THE RUNNING MAN than Corman's cheesy classic.)

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More Death Race reviews
review by . February 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
BIG EXPLOSIONS, FAST CARS, SEXY WOMEN, POINTLESS ACTION. The ultimate guy movie.
BIG EXPLOSIONS   FAST CARS   SEXY WOMEN   POINTLESS ACTION      Death Race is the ultimate action movie ever made i dont care if the storyline or the acting is shitty(as some other reviewers have said) the action and racing makes out for it all.I mean come on frickin tracker trailers with flame throwers and rocket launchers you are lying if you said you watched the movie for the acting this movie is insane perfect for adrenaline junkies its now my …
review by . May 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
REMAKE OF THE CORMAN CLASSIC
DEATH RACE       This is for those who don't know another remake that was put out there, but unlike most I was actually excited about this one. I knew that this was one that needs the brain shut off and that really won't have character development, but that is ok. The thing that I was happy about is that the original films legendary producer Roger Corman returns as a producer on this film, that's enough for me. I know some people were worried because Paul W.S. Anderson is the …
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A fast paced, car destroying, people killing movie.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Loud and dumb action flick with the always cool Jason Statham getting involved in a prison road race full of guns and grime. No brain power needed to enjoy unless your looking for how Joan Allen got involved in this. Why do all the cars have the same color?
review by . January 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Jason Statham
Being a film that I've read Roger Ebert express disgust and disappointment, but at the same time Stephen King names it as one of the year's best, of course, one wouldn't be hard-pressed to become curious what to make out of Paul W.S. Anderson's re-imagining of Roger Corman's "Death Race 2000". "DEATH RACE" is very loosely based on Corman's cult favorite; the 1975 original was somewhat innovatively exploitive, with its satiric take on bloody violence, which made it fun. Anderson is a good action …
Quick Tip by . September 08, 2009
Ridiculous premise and nonsensical race rules. Yet, I stuck around 'til the end. Felt like a video game turned into a movie. Still fun.
review by . January 23, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Jason Statham, awesome. If you liked him in The Transporter, Crank, his driving movies, you'll enjoy him in this film. The problem with this film overall is that it tries to be almost a video game, super mario gets power ups, people get shot at constantly but don't die, cars are almost superheros, our hero lead character sets his car to "no damage, easy play level." It's actaully kind of annoying.    The Mad Max homage is huge, he drove a Jensen Interceptor. Jason Statham's name …
review by . September 23, 2008
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):   1.   By 2012 the US Economy is completely ruined (guess it doesn't matter who you vote for) 2.   Prisons are packed thanks to spiraling unemployment and crime 3.   Private corporations run the prisons for profit (Serious business, as there's no money left for a bail-out) 4.   Terminal Island Prison runs pay-per-view death races as a fund raiser, using inmates to drive cars tricked out with weapons and armor plating …
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Ranked #147
I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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Wiki

Mayhem rules inDeath Race, a head-over-heels remake of the Roger Corman cult classicDeath Race 2000, in which cars become lethal weapons. The strength of this new version is its total single-mindedness about vehicular homicide; it has the virtue of no cluttering subplots or simpering sentimentality. And banish all memory of the original's wild satirical comedy:Death Raceis as grim as a dinner tray to the face (a reference that will be explained in a key sequence). In a slightly futuristic maximum-security prison, cons take part in brutal races around the island prison, their violent deaths watched live by millions of viewers. Jason Statham, possibly cast because of his driving dexterity in theTransportermovies, plays a man wrongly imprisoned for murder. Joan Allen provides her brittle cool as the warden, who recruits Statham to assume the masked persona of a legendary driver called Frankenstein. Tyrese Gibson is Frankie's main rival, Natalie Martinez provides the fetching eye candy, but the acting honors go to Ian McShane, as the philosophical prison mechanic. One misses the cross-country race from the original film, as the setting here is claustrophobic and the cars are largely colorless and indistinguishable from each other. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) continues to display the sensibility of a video-game addict, which will either be a recommendation or a turn-off, depending on your own tastes. At least it doesn't have the hypocritical moral ...
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Details

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: 22 August 2008 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Runtime: USA: 111 min(unrated version)
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