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Review: Death Race (2008) R 89min

August 30th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 13,972 Views


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Death Race (2008) posterThe Death Race is an action movie based on 1975 film Death Race 2000 and written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Both movies were produced by Roger Corman. The original movie was starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. The new movie has Jason Statham in the main role.

The plot: In the year 2022 when economic collapse in US caused a huge crime rate and privatization of prisons, Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) is framed in the murder of his wife by the prison wadren and a showwoman Hennesey (Joan Allen) to participate in the newest sport she created: a car race between prisoners who should kill each other and come first in the race 5 times in a row in order to win their freedom.

The good: If you enjoy mindless action and violence, sound of revving engines and non-stop machine gun fire (Crash! Boom! Bang!) – this movie is for you. I shouldn’t forget hot babes in prison too – this movie has everything a guy needs on Friday night. The movie looks and feels like a computer video game with occasional plot transition from one video game stage to another. The 1987 The Running Man is a similar movie plot-wise, but instead of driving the convicts were forced to run. I’ll be surprised if a video game with the same name is not released in a short time. As a matter of fact, a video game followed the 1975 movie in 1976 and was promptly banned for excessive violence – players were allowed to drive their cars over what looked like [due to poor graphics] people, but in fact were gremlins who screamed like people. Although the video game was no related to the movie, it did carry the same name. The Death Race is so much like video game: it has aerial shots of the race track (in black and white), it has very rugged-looking characters, a geeky kid for comic relief in between the violence, and the cars have to drive over special buttons that arm the cars’ defenses or weaponry. Jason Statham is always very effective in action movies; he is almost always shirt-less.
Some might notice that according to the movie privatization of the prison system may not be a good idea, unless its held to very high standards and monitored. But based on the movie it’s ridiculous to even start this conversation because it was not the point of the movie – Death Race is just a violent action flick. Natalie Martinez is hot. Nice music. Cool but predictable twist in the end.

The bad: the plot is paper-thin with huge holes. In one word – preposterous. Huge continuity problems, huge problems with physics, logic and motivation.

The summary: Don’t expect a sophisticated plot or good acting. Death Race is a great and very entertaining action flick, although it won’t keep you on the edge of the seat. Make a note – Paul W.S. Anderson can make fun movies. Well, again, this one too is produced by Roger Corman.

The cast: Jensen Ames – Jason Statham | Hennessey – Joan Allen | Coach – Ian McShane (Kung Fu Panda, Golden Compass, Shrek The 3rd, Colombo, Perry Mason) | Machine Gun Joe – Tyrese Gibson (Transformers, Annapolis, Four Brothers, Flight of the Phoenix, 2 Fast 2 Furious) | Case – Natalie Martinez | Pachenko – Max Ryan | Ulrich – Jason Clarke | Lists – Frederick Koehler | Gunner – Jacob Vargas | Travis Colt – Justin Mader | Grimm – Robert LaSardo | 14K – Robin Shou

The credits: Director – Paul W.S. Anderson | Writer – Paul W.S. Anderson | Story by – Paul W.S. Anderson | 1975 Death Race 2000 story by Robert Thom, Charles B. Griffith, Ib Melchior | Producers – Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Roger Corman, Dennis E. Jones, Ryan Kavanaugh, Paula Wagner | Original Music – Paul Haslinger | Cinematography – Scott Kevan | Editing – Niven Howie

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Rated 3/5 on Aug 30 2008
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Tags: "Guy" Films · Action · Movies · USA

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