Death Race Reviews
Let Death Race serve as a warning, or maybe an inspiration, to any TV producer who says she'd kill for high ratings: Why not stage a pay-per-view car race in which prisoners compete to stay alive on the course?
No fancy talk here, just solid, monosyllabic obscenities; no flights of digital fancy, just souped-up monster cars flipping end over end in a napalm blaze and crashing in a crunch of flaming metal ouch.
Once out of the starting grid, the film proceeds to edit the action so dementedly that one struggles to work out whose car just exploded, who flipped over and who's driving the one with the missile-launcher on the roof.
Thanks to its character interplay, the movie doesn't drag despite taking a good 40 minutes to really rev its engines. And the racing that ensues is as loud, fast, hyper-edited, and pulverizingly destructive as the gladiatorially minded would hope.
It's one of those vicious larks that just plain hit the spot. It hits the spot, throws 'er into reverse and hits the spot again, before machine-gunning it and ramming it head-on for the fun of it.
It has the tough guy lead, dozens of mad car crack-ups, tons of gratuitous violence, sweaty B-movie appeal, and even a couple of A-talent actors, but in the end Death Race runs around in circles.
Anderson's take is ultraviolent, ridiculously stupid and kind of a rush. If your brain has an 'off' switch, you're well-advised to use it. And the carnage is relentless.
As hard as metal and just as dumb, Paul W.S. Anderson's Death Race couldn't be further from producer Roger Corman and director Paul Bartel's goofy, bloody 1975 original, Death Race 2000.