Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Jason Statham leads the cast of an action-thriller set in the post-industrial wasteland of tomorrow, with the world’s most brutal sporting event as its backdrop. A penitentiary full of felons has inspired the jailers to create a grisly pastime ripe for lucrative kickbacks. Now, adrenalized inmates, a global audience hungry for televised violence and a spectacular arena come together to form the Death Race.
Three-time speedway champion Jensen Ames (Statham) is an expert at survival in the harsh landscape that has become our country. Just as he thinks he has turned his life around, the ex-con is framed for a gruesome murder he didn’t commit. Forced to don the mask of the mythical driver Frankenstein — a crowd favorite who seems impossible to kill — Ames is given an easy choice by Terminal Island’s warden (Joan Allen): suit up or rot away in a cell.
His face hidden by a metallic mask, one convict will be put through an insane three-day challenge. Ames must survive a gauntlet of the most vicious criminals in the country’s toughest prison to claim the prize of freedom. Driving a monster car outfitted with machine guns, flamethrowers and grenade launchers, one desperate man will destroy anything in his path to win the most twisted spectator sport on Earth
Based on the 1975 Roger Corman Classic Death Race 2000 starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone, Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Death Race is a brainless action flick involving cars, guns and gratuitous violence. Not a bad way to spend an hour and a half!
This movie didn’t get the best reviews when it hit the theaters. However, I always thought the trailer looked awesome. I mean, you have a bunch of heavily armed cars racing around a prison island, what’s not to like here?! Death Race is a lot of fun. While it’s not saying much, this is Paul W.S. Anderson‘s best movie since Event Horizon (although I do have a soft spot for Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil). In fact, I think this is Paul W.S. Anderson‘s retribution for bringing us AVP: Alien vs. Predator. I have officially forgiven him.
There are many reasons I really dug this movie, none involving the plot. The plot is pretty standard, nothing too cerebral here. But, what the movie delivers on is the exciting race scenes, solid visual effects (a high percentage of practical effects this time around for Paul W.S. Anderson), and Jason Statham. Jason Statham is a star that should be in better movies than he keeps appearing in. In fact, this is now one of my favorite Jason Statham flicks. He’s a lot of fun and plays a great badass with a great heart.
So, if you’re looking for a good way to spend an hour and a half and this sort of mayhem is your bag, Death Race will suprise you. If you check your brain at the door, Death Race is a lot of fun. I’ll be rewatching this more times than I’ll be watching any Oscar winning movie, that’s for sure.
Rated R for strong violence and language.