Death Race 2000 - Special Edition
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Filmed for $300,000 on desert-road and freeway locations throughout California's San Fernando Valley, Death Race 2000 packs more entertainment into 78 minutes than most movies can muster in two hours or more. Although it originated as a serious short story by Ib Melchior (best known as the writer-director of The Angry Red Planet), Corman took a cue from Dr. Strangelove and gave the material a satirical spin, resulting in non-graphic road-kills that are more hilarious than horrific, especially with the play-by-play race commentary by legendary disc jockey "The Real Don Steele," whose priceless performance (along with Carradine's deadpan drollery) turns Death Race 2000 into a low-comedy classic. The deadly car bodies were designed by Dean Jeffries (who also customized the "Monkeemobile") and fitted onto Volkswagen chassis, and Bartel's ingenious use of a meager budget epitomized the Corman aesthetic, reaping impressive box-office profits on its way to becoming one of the most beloved cult classics of all time. --Jeff Shannon
- Playing the Game: Looking Back at Death Race 2000
- Original theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
THE STORY: In the dystopian future year of 2000, nationally-celebrated racers in wildly insane-looking customized cars throttle across country in the annual Trans-Continental Road Race; America's favorite sport. A thoroughly twisted bonus aspect of this ultra-violent mechanized marathon is that the drivers can score additional points during the race by running down men, women and children! Legendary winner of multiple races... the often crashed & smashed, creamed & reamed but never down & out champion, "Frankenstein" (an appropriately menacing & stoic performance by David 'Kung Fu' Carradine), is the odds on favorite to take the crown once again, but the other blood-thirsty drivers, (a young Sylvester Stallone, in his second starring role, among them), are going to use every nasty, under-handed trick they can to eliminate Frankenstein and capture first place. As if that wasn't enough tension, a small band of government resistance rebels have hatched a plot to stop the Death Race. To this end, they have entrenched a double agent amongst the racers to sabotage the proceedings whenever possible. Their ultimate goal is to unseat the self-appointed Christ-like President of the United States and overthrow the iron-fisted rule of his thoroughly corrupt totalitarian government.
THOUGHTS: Paul Bartel directs this wild, one-of-a-kind, low budget, high speed crashfest with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. The violence is so over the top that it borders on cartoonish. The motivations of the various (and strictly one-dimensional) characters are uncomplicated & straightforward.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great cheesy movie from the 70's. I find it funny that so many people quote this movie & don't know that they are quoting it.Published 3 months ago by Nate
Shout Factory never fails to amaze me with the quality of transfer and incredible extras on even the most obscure films from my youth.
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Excellent purchase. Highly recommend the movie! Includes 12 pg background/fluff booklet that was at least interesting.Published 7 months ago by David Drake
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