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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Chicken in a basket?" "No, they're Chicken in a Casket!"
So these are the words of Calamity Jane, a contender in Roger Corman's low budget farce, "Death Race 2000." It is interesting that Amazon paired Corman's film with Norman Jewison's "Rollerball" and for good reason: one movie is pure satire and played strictly for laughs while the latter is a far more serious and somber commentary on the media, America's love affair with...
Published on August 12, 2006 by Kenneth M. Pizzi

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Widescreen is Matted from Full Frame
I was glad to get a copy of this today and was hoping for an improvement over my DMI Full Frame Copy. However, it appears this is another case where marketing has misslead the public once again. The Film was clearly shot in Full Screen and this 1:85 transfer is matted down, cropping out much of the top & bottom of the image. When Frankenstein Talks to Myra, you...
Published on July 17, 2010 by Willjamz


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Chicken in a basket?" "No, they're Chicken in a Casket!", August 12, 2006
By 
Kenneth M. Pizzi (San Mateo, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
So these are the words of Calamity Jane, a contender in Roger Corman's low budget farce, "Death Race 2000." It is interesting that Amazon paired Corman's film with Norman Jewison's "Rollerball" and for good reason: one movie is pure satire and played strictly for laughs while the latter is a far more serious and somber commentary on the media, America's love affair with violence steeped in what we call "sport," and the cult of celebrity. Both films explore these themes quite differently, yet both are entertaining as they are disturbing.

As a black comedy, "Death Race 2000" is more or less a cheaply made exploitation flick (budgeted at approximately $300,000), that never pretends for an instant to be anything more than a satire of the future and a parody of "Rollerball"--a far more ambitious, absorbing and expensive film.

Corman's film depicts a "game"--the Transcontinental Death Race--designed to cater to society's need to channel its aggression and hostile impulses as sort of a 21st century equivalent of the Roman circus offering spectators both entertainment and a catharsis in its more manic and kinetic moments.

Yes, the film is crazy--from the attack on Frankenstein by the French Air Force to Thomasina Paine (hilarious!) and her revolutionaries' thwarted attempts to assassinate "Mr. President" and end the Transcontinental Death Race once and for all. While the special effects in Corman's film are decidedly low-rent, save for some interesting matte paintings injected at the beginning of the film, the cars themselves, customized by car designer James Powers, are both creative and imaginative. The film, for the most part is amusing and very funny. The "Real Don Steele" is terrific as the commentator with one-liners that will leave you laughing.

While Carradine's "Frankenstein" looks utterly ridiculous in a plastic helmet and a vinyl body suit, a pre-Rocky, Sylvester Stallone steals the show and seems far more comfortable in the role of "Machine-Gun Joe Viturbo." Stallone would be a household name a year later with "Rocky" released in 1976. Before he assumed his US Senate seat representing his home state of Iowa, a bespectacled Fred Grandy, preceding his "Love Boat" debut on ABC, also manages some laughs as "Herman the German."

This DVD release with its extras and commentary is a vast improvement over the Digital Multimedia release that looks like it was pirated-off someone's VHS copy recorded in EP mode. For Corman fans, this would appear to be the release to shoot for. And according to IMBD, Corman is presently working on a big budgeted sequel due out sometime in 2008.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, May 13, 2000
By 
Chapulina R (Tovarischi Imports, USA/RUS) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death Race 2000 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Hey, what more can I add that hasn't already been said? When this first came out in lurid color on the Big Screen I loved it. And I love it today after watching it a hundred times. Carnivorous cars driven by caracature cowgals and gangsters, nazis with names like "Mathilda the Hun" and "Herman the German", and a mysterious champion named Frankenstein whose oft-rebuilt face is always masked, not to mention the Resistance, the French Air Force, and all the other "dear friends". Just don't get to like any of them too much. If you've never seen this sick, hilarious parody, get it now. Mr. President will love you for it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WIDESCREEN AT LAST!, December 14, 2005
By 
B-Movie Fan (San Antonio, TX USA) - See all my reviews
Finally, fans of Death Race 2000 can enjoy this satirical film in the original widescreen format (1.78:1). My compliments to Buena Vista Entertainment for making the effort to release this film in the format that originally graced theaters and drive-ins in 1975. Not only do the pulse-pounding car race scenes benefit from this, but also the "cramped" dialogue sequences between Annie & Frankenstein are loosened up. Paul Bartel's great direction - not to mention the 2nd unit direction of the race sequences - is really on display here: no longer hacked up in a full-frame format, it's really quite a slick picture. The widescreen presentation really pays off in the flick when the 5 racers initally split up (at about the 10:40 mark) and especially in Calamity Jane's bloodthirsty pursuit of Matilda the Hun (after Matilda's scoring of Jane's navigator). Of course, the explosions benefit immensely as well.

The 10-minute featurette with Roger Corman, Mary Woronov, Martin Kove, and writer Charles Griffith are enlightening, especially Kove's description of his effeminate depiction of Nero the Hero. What is obviously missing, though, are comments from Sylvester Stallone & David Carradine. I'd also have loved to have Roberta Collins' & Fred Grandy's take on the film (odds of that are no better than a snowball's chance in h***, but one can dream can't he?).

I recommend getting this DVD (the Special Edition, released 12-13-05) before it disappears. I have a feeling this may be the best edition we'll see of Death Race 2000 in the DVD format. Enjoy it for what it is - biting satire that could have only been made in the 70's exploitation film days.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Widescreen is Matted from Full Frame, July 17, 2010
This review is from: Death Race 2000 (Roger Corman's Cult Classics) (DVD)
I was glad to get a copy of this today and was hoping for an improvement over my DMI Full Frame Copy. However, it appears this is another case where marketing has misslead the public once again. The Film was clearly shot in Full Screen and this 1:85 transfer is matted down, cropping out much of the top & bottom of the image. When Frankenstein Talks to Myra, you nolonger get to see her boobs as they are now out of frame. This scene was a memorable shot in the full screen version and those who chose the framing of the matting did us no favors here. I am a bit disappointed by this issue....

However,
The Image is a vast improvement, I just wish we had been given all of it. The sound is a slight upgrade but still 2.0 mono. I would still recomend a purchase if you are interested in this title but just be aware you are not getting a true widescreen film and are missing out on some great bits that are now cut out in this print. If you have the old Full Screen release of this DVD, you may want to keep it as this new DVD does not make it obsolete.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a true widescreen version, January 10, 2008
I took my younger brothers to see this when it came out and we had a great time at the show. It's low budget to be sure but it's more in keeping with the independent spirit of film making and the punk rock attitude that started circa 1975.
However I can't believe that no one has complained about the con job of the faux widescreen transfer. This edition is just the full frame version with the top and bottom chopped off to make it look like widescreen. My previous full frame edition has more information. Shame on Buena vista for lying to us.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie Low budget, April 20, 2005
This review is from: Death Race 2000 (DVD)
This movie I had always heard about but never got the chance to catch it. Now I know where Toxic Avenger got the scoring pedestrians from. The original road rage Death Race 2000. I was watching and was wondering just when was the death going to kick in then it happened and it didnt stop. Great movie! Sylvester Stallone was pretty funny in this movie as he portrays Machine Gun Joe Paturbo ( I think thats how you spell it). David Carradine portrays Dr. Frankenstein and you think he's a freak at first but he is David Carradine so he's going to be weird anyway but its cool in the movie. They tied everything into this movie patriotism, road rage, liberty, humor and alot of naked women. Which is always a plus. But anywayz its a great movie especially if you liked the scoring from Toxic I check out the originators. I bought the box set and Pirahna came with it as well good deal but I dont know about those other two movies but this and Pirahna guaranteed satisfaction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Surprises, October 9, 2010
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I first watched Death Race 2000 (where else?) late at night on a cable movie network, not knowing what to expect. I'd heard many things about it before that night; how gory it was, how unnecessary its nudity was, how it put Sylvester Stallone on the map before Rocky...but what I saw that night was a profound, humorous and thought-provoking social commentary on society's uncontrollable infatuation with violence.

In director Paul Bartel's alternate version of the year 2000, the United States is a self-righteous totalitarian dictatorship run under the fist of "Mister President". A violent obsession consumes the nation, its outlet the annual Transcontinental Road Race, where drivers earn points by running over innocent bystanders (more for mowing down children, disabled or the elderly). The film centers around Frankenstein (the late David Carradine), the prototypical "iron man", whose numerous injuries are as famous as his victories (hence, his nickname). However, the enigma surrounding this onyx-clad veteran of the "Death Race" may not be all it seems...

The film is tremendous social satire, lampooning the media, violence and the nature of competition itself. However, in spite of most of its brilliance and Bartel's trademark dark humor, the film is very much a low-budget product of its time. A Roger Corman production, the film is certainly low-budget, raunchy and bloody. The opening titles and establishing shot of the raceway are enough evidence. This film wasn't meant to blow viewers away with its visuals. Instead, in trademark Corman fashion, the positives are accentuated while the negatives are downplayed. If viewers look past its low budget, they'll discover a tremendously fun, entertaining and surprisingly intellectual experience.

Shout! Factory, producers of the amazing Freaks and Geeks and SCTV box sets, helm this release and present it extremely faithfully. The 1080p transfer of the film is far from pristine given the limitations of its source material, but in spite of this, it's still a solid transfer. Its Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is a bit of a disappointment in this era of lossless audio and bombastic low-end frequencies, but it does its job effectively. Once again, the explanation lies in the limitations and low budget of the source material.

As is the case with most of Shout! Factory's releases, the greatness lies in the supplements. Two audio commentaries and a collection of documentaries and featurettes (both in 480p and 1080p) cover all of the bases, from Corman's hilariously inaccurate estimation of Stallone's future career during production to production design, scripting, scoring and trailer-making (yes, trailer-making). Not only are these featurettes informative, but reveal a lot about the filmmaking process Corman perfected. Shout! Factory deserves a lot of the credit here, for their overview of the film is equally substantial and informative, with some laughs along the way.

Yes, it's dated, gory, goofy and sultry. Look beyond the obvious, however, and Death Race 2000 becomes a smart, satirical comment on contemporay American society's obsession with violence and its exploitation through media and politics. Shout! Factory does extremely well in bringing it to Blu-ray, providing everything a fan of the film needs to know. Both the film and blu-ray are surprisingly in-depth and entertaining. Overall, a great release.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top 3 low budget science fiction movies of all time, April 4, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Death Race 2000 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This movie is watchable time and time again. How can you beat a young Sylvestor Stallone? The off-beat humor cannot be topped. I rate this as one of the top three low budget science fiction movies ever. The other two: "A Boy and his Dog" and "Creation of the Humanoids". It is my favorite Roger Corman movie also. But ... do yourself a favor and pass on the bogus sequel called "Deathsport". The original has a certain magic but the second try does not. Well, I have to go now there are still some pedestrians left in the world.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A race like no other!, November 9, 2006
By 
D. Roberts "Hadrian12" (Battle Creek, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death Race 2000 (DVD)
Here is a rather bizarre premise. What if, in the future, there was a race between New York & California? Not such a huge concept you say, right? Well, this race has quite a "catch" to it. What if the objective were to run over as many people as possible between NY & CA? What if there were cameras everywhere to "keep score" of how many people you flatten?

Well, that's the twisted story of DEATH RACE 2000. It certainly has to rank as one of the best "B" movies ever made. Of course, it is a bit of a biting satire on the American love for violence. As all good satires refrain from doing, however, it doesn't get "preachy" about things. You're sure to surprise yourself at some of the scenes you'll find yourself laughing at.

This is the funniest role I've ever seen Sly Stallone portray. He is a great fit as the Italian mobster. David Carradine is good as the "Frankenstein" character. The girls in the film are all pretty hot, and (a Corman trademark) they all take their clothes off @ one point or other.

All in all, this is a can't miss if you're a fan of the "B" movie genre. It's absurd, low-budget and great fun!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watched It In The Theater When It First Came Out and Still Love It!, September 4, 2008
By 
I remember convincing my dad to take me to this movie when it first came out telling him about all the "cool cars" that were in it. He almost flipped a lid when the first nude scene miraculously popped onto the screen. I remember him telling me not to say a word of it to my mother. Oh what fond memories that brings to the forefront of my memory.

This is such a fun satirical movie that you can't help but like it.

The one scene that always sticks in my mind as perhaps the most hilarious of the entire movie is when a bunch of doctors and nurses take a bunch of sick and elderly people and put them in the middle of the road prior to the racers arrival in order to help their favorite driver score some much needed points. They then hide in a driveway off to the side of the road in front of the hospital.

Well, along comes their favorite driver barreling down the road heading for the patients all lined-up in the middle of the road while they are all lined-up in the driveway. (I think you can see where this is going) Anyhow, the driver at the last instant turns into the driveway and proceeds to run over all of the doctors and nurses scoring those much needed points. Absolutely mind-blowing hysterical!

There are many more funny scenes in this movie and I am not going to spoil it by telling anymore. Suffice to say this is never going to be on AFI's Top 100 films of all times, but it will definitely make the "Top 100 All Time Greatest Drive-In Movie Flicks."

Shawn Kovacich
Connoisseur of Fine and Not-So-Fine Movies
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Death Race 2000 (Roger Corman's Cult Classics)
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