Death Race

Death Race

In Theatres: 
Aug 22, 2008
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 29 Minutes

Based on the 1975 film by the same name, Death Race is a nonstop high adrenaline race that pits the worst of criminals against one another in a no holds bar competition for freedom.  Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) was once the best of the professional race circuit. Then the economy fell apart and he was forced to work in an industrial mill. Things only got worse when he is framed for killing his wife and is now at Terminal Island, where the most dangerous criminals are held. He must race in order to gain freedom and clear his name. This isn’t your ordinary race though. Filled with traps, weapons, and every danger imaginable; it’s a kill or be killed event that Ames must win.

Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil series) steps into the driver’s seat sort to speak and brings the classic Death Race 2000 back to life. Explosions, missiles, flamethrowers, and all types of tools of mayhem are abundant. Right from the beginning, the action takes you in and it doesn’t let go. That is the heart and soul of this film; the race sequences. The variety of cars along with their equally interesting drivers should make for an interesting story, right? Not necessarily. While the races were spectacular, the story was lacking. Rather than make reasonable connections between scenes, there are simply jumps from race to race. None of the drivers are drawn out aside from Ames. It would have been nice to see more characterization with the others. The interaction between the Warden (Joan Allen) and here bumbling police sidekick was ghastly. Watching the guard suck up to the Warden was disturbing and painful. Statham does a decent job as Ames and the only other person who stood out would be Ian McShane as Coach. He was perfect for the role and came off as gritty and the omniscient one of the prison. Allen and Tyrese Gibson, who plays the driver Machine Gun Joe, could have been better. All their lines were flat and overused.

Overall, if you are the type of person who only watches NASCAR for the crashes or lives for destruction, then Death Race is your type of movie. If you are looking for story and plot, however; it’s best to look somewhere else.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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