I had a chance to see Death Race today. If you don’t know the history of this movie, then let me fill you in a little… in 1975, Roger Corman produced Death Race 2000, which starred David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone in the roles of Frankenstein and Machine Gun Joe. It’s a cult classic you haven’t seen it. Full of B-movie cheese from the 70s. 🙂
After director Paul W.S. Anderson did Mortal Kombat in 1995, and it was the top grossing movie during its opening weekend, Anderson had lunch with Roger Corman and they discussed remaking Death Race 2000. Corman approved and 13 years later, it finally made it to the screen.
Keep in mind when you watch this film that the original 1975 version was made for $350,000. Want to guess what the budget was for the updated version? Let’s say $75 million. Just a wee bit of a difference.
In Anderson’s updated version, it’s not a cross-country car race where you get points for running over pedestrians… Now it’s a pay-per-view race starring inmates on television in a bloody battle to see who can win their freedom.
In Carradine’s role steps Jason Statham as Jensen Ames, taking up the mantle as the racer “Frankenstein.” And Stallone is replaced by Tyrese Gibson as Machine Gun Joe. Natalie Martinez is “Frankenstein’s” sexy co-pilot, Case. And Ian McShane steps in as Coach, Jacob Vargas as Gunner, and Frederick Koehler as Lists.
So with all of that setup out of the way, did I like the film? Yep! If you go, you just have to make sure that you check your brain at the door. The plot is linear, the characters pretty 2-dimensional, and you have to know you’re just along for the ride. 🙂
There’s plenty of gunfire, explosions, and blood to keep even the most jaded race fan happy. But if you’re going for the cinematic experience of a lifetime, you’re going to be disappointed!
Transitions were a little rough in spots, as was some of the camera work (they seemed to love filming in slow motion, through bars, and with a shaky cam — thankfully not all at once).
I’m giving this movie a solid 3/4. It’s not terrific, but it was a heck of a lot of fun. Almost like playing a video game!
If you have some time to kill, see it at the theater. Otherwise, wait and rent it where you can watch some poor guy bite it at the end of a tank gun. 🙂
This will have to tide me over until Transporter 3 comes out later this year or early next.
Until next time… go see a movie!