Mayhem rules in Death Race
, a head-over-heels remake of the Roger Corman cult classic Death Race 2000
, in which cars become lethal weapons. The strength of this new version is its total single-mindedness about vehicular homicide; it has the virtue of no cluttering subplots or simpering sentimentality. And banish all memory of the original's wild satirical comedy: Death Race
is as grim as a dinner tray to the face (a reference that will be explained in a key sequence). In a slightly futuristic maximum-security prison, cons take part in brutal races around the island prison, their violent deaths watched live by millions of viewers. Jason Statham, possibly cast because of his driving dexterity in the Transporter
movies, plays a man wrongly imprisoned for murder. Joan Allen provides her brittle cool as the warden, who recruits Statham to assume the masked persona of a legendary driver called Frankenstein. Tyrese Gibson is Frankie's main rival, Natalie Martinez provides the fetching eye candy, but the acting honors go to Ian McShane, as the philosophical prison mechanic. One misses the cross-country race from the original film, as the setting here is claustrophobic and the cars are largely colorless and indistinguishable from each other. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil
) continues to display the sensibility of a video-game addict, which will either be a recommendation or a turn-off, depending on your own tastes. At least it doesn't have the hypocritical moral blathering of something like the somewhat similar Condemned--who knew you could be so grateful for simple, straight-forward head-bashing? --Robert Horton Stills from Death Race (Click for larger image)
Welcome to the Death Race, where hardened convicts and smoking-hot navigators race tricked-out cars in the most twisted spectator sport on Earth! Sentenced to the world's most dangerous prison for a murder he did not commit, Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) has only one chance to get out alive - win the ultimate race to the death. Also starring Tyrese Gibson, Death Race is a "supercharged, sick and satisfying” (Nathan Lee, The New York Times) ride that will keep you pinned to your seat all the way to its insane, metal-crushing end!