Please fasten your seatbelt.
When ready put brain in park.
Sit back and enjoy.
Death Race is very loosely based on the classic 1975 Death Race 2000 featuring David Carradine. This Death Race is quite different from the 1975 version and far superior to the campy Roger Corman version though the cars in the original – like the beautiful Nova – were much more attractive though the women in this version are definitely more to modern taste (definitely more kick ass).
It’s always a little strange when a world class actress like three time academy award nominee Joan Allen shows up in an action thriller. Allen adds an air of cold menace to the character of warden Hennessey that probably wouldn’t have come across as well if it had been played by any other actor. At one point in the movie a resident of the toughest prison in the USA refers to Warden Hennessy as the toughest person in the prison.
Only two names are kept from the original – Frankenstein and Machine Gun Joe. Of course the relationship between all the race characters remains essentially the same: They all want to win the race. In this Death Race the prize for winning five times in a row is a get out of jail free card from the warden.
Jason Statham (Transporter, The Bank Job, The Italian Job) plays Jensen Ames a former NASCAR who is imprisoned for the murder of his wife. Naturally a former professional race car driver makes a perfect fit for the Death Race format and thus the plot of the movie is set. Really there isn't much more to tell. This is a high octane and relatively easy to predict action movie. From the start to the finish it is well shot, holds together as well as most over the top shoot 'em up or blow 'em up movies. While lacking the social satire and humour of Death Race 2000 it is exactly what it purports to be - balls to the wall action - and no surprises (well maybe one surprise). This is a guy movie through and through and definitely worth a look.