By Clint Morris
A long-gestating remake (at one stage Tom Cruise was set to produce and star in it; Cruiseâ€™s producing partner Paula Wagner retains a producing credit on it) of B-movie legend Roger Cormanâ€™s wickedly violent and silly-ass 70s caper “Death Race 2000″, “Death Race” revels in its ridiculousness and the charm of its muscular lead actor.
Original pic told of Frankenstein (David Carradine), a contestant in a brutal car race of the future where pedestrians are run down for points. The character – kinda – returns for the follow-up. The remake, set in 2012, is set within the halls of a maximum-security prison run by the Weyland Corporation, which sees jails full of thugs as an opportunity for televised sport. Adrenalized inmates, a global audience hungry for violence and a spectacular, enclosed arena come together to form the ‘Death Race’, the world’s biggest, most brutal car-race where ideally, only one driver will be left standing by the end of the, er, season. When the â€˜realâ€™ Frankenstein (voiced by Carradine) is killed in a race, the head of the Weyland Corporation (Joan Allen) brings in another prisoner, the erroneously caged Jensen (Jason Statham), to wear the mask â€“ hoping to retain the ratings and fool everyone that the star of the race is still alive. Participants in the â€˜Death Raceâ€™ include Machine-Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson playing Sylvester Stalloneâ€™s part from the original) and 14k (Robin Shou).
Anyone that walks out of â€œDeath Raceâ€ screaming to their buddies â€œWow! Wasnâ€™t that a great movie!â€ obviously hasnâ€™t seen the original. The original film was a blast â€“ it was super violent (the whole â€˜knocking down pedestrians for pointsâ€™ thing has been excised from the remake, for a start), immerse with subtle but noticeable political messages and featured a charismatic and commanding David Carradine. It was one of the best bad movies of its time. The remake is like a â€˜dietâ€™ version of the original â€“ itâ€™s still violent, and it still has lots of car-racing, but itâ€™s not quite as much fun and itâ€™s seemingly almost held back by its rating. More so, the script is an absolute shocker â€“ we learn nothing about the characters! Who are they? What are they in jail for!? And whatâ€™s with that ending!? Was anyone else let down by such a cheap conclusion?
Itâ€™s not the â€œgreat movie!â€ some of the youngsters, oblivious to the fact there was a better version released thirty years before, declare, but director Paul W.S Andersonâ€™s (“Alien Vs Predator”, “Mortal Kombat”) remake is still a good time. Statham is perfectly cast as the â€˜muscleâ€™ behind the wheel, Tyrese is â€“ albeit not quite as menacing as Stallone was in the original â€“ a force to be reckoned with as Machine-Gun Joe, Joan Allen is naturally brilliant as the cold-hearted warden, and Ian McShane, though underutilized, is a welcome addition as Coach, the leader of his pit crew. The race sequences are where all the fun is to be had â€“ watch the participants try and one up each other (or better still, kill each other) with the various tools they, and their car, have at their disposal; watch as they squash drivers silly enough to get out of their car, and marvel in some terrifically-choreographed stunts. Itâ€™s a rev-heads dreamâ€¦ an orgasmic mix of on-road mayhem that plays at 1000 miles per hour! One for the Playstation (since it plays like a fun video-game) crowd!
This new ‘unrated’ version (there’s only five minutes more footage – just some carnage and a needless flashback sequence or two) comes with a few bonus features : commentary with director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt (in which Anderson says the ‘unrated’ longer cut of the film is actually not really worthwhile – fuck, Universal would’ve loved that comment), a featurette on the stunts, and a fairly-standard making-of.
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Against the Current - the band, not adventures in dangerous swimming 101
Zedd - If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? (Well, answer my question!)
Arrow (Okay, Felicity from Arrow!)
Chrissy Costanza (cat eyes and buttery lyrics!)
Girls (TV) (Okay, Allison Williams!)
Movies - especially when they play in the dark.
Twin Peaks (TV)
Friends (TV) (It had me at "No way are you cool enough to pull Clint"; damn straight, Chandler!)
Traveling - preferably where water is, so I can splash someone!
Star Wars trilogy - no, the other one, fella!
Alex G - far more talented than her younger brother Alex H
Cameron Crowe movies - Say Anything..., Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous
The sign 'Free Wi-Fi'.
Reenacting dance/song scenes from "Grease" with my little girl (hey! Wait till you see my 'Summer Lovin'! - don't judge)
Die Hard - 40 stories of Sheer Adventure!
Alex Goot & Friends (his enemies aren't half as talented!)
Cooking up a nice dish and sitting in the entertainment area, on a cool night, basking in it's greatness.
Inflatable kids pools full of Vodka Lime Crush.
Acidic Email from angry, over passionate teenagers after I trash something "Twilight"-related on the site. Sparkle elsewhere.
My baby girl's big, caring heart.