Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Race Movie

Continuing our festival of remade low-budget car movies, we bring you: Death Race. Not Death Race 2000, Paul Bartels' directorial debut, produced by Roger Corman in 1975 (gee, did I really see that on a double-bill with Rollerball?). This is the 2008 movie starring Jason Statham, co-produced by Roger Corman.

It's 2012, and the economy is based almost entirely on prisons, just like today. But the twist is, they hold races on Prison Island, and if you can win 5 races, you go free. The pay-per-view audience supports the entire economy. By the way, the cars are heavily armed, and the drivers would just as rather kill the competition then beat them by speed.

Jason Statham is unjustly imprisoned when his ... Wait - am I seriously going to discuss the plot? Let's just say that the prison is hellish, the warden (Joan Allen) is evil and hot, and the race scenes are the whole point.

And what scenes they are. Statham drives an up-armored Mustang with machine guns, oilslick, smokescreen and napalm. His opponents are stone killers. The warden wants viewers, but seems to want Statham dead more. There are many crashes and explosions, some fairly creative.

I don't think the races were quite as good as the Fast and Furious or Transporter franchise, but they fit the requirements. Enjoy.

Next week, The Fast and the Furious, 2001.

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