Monday, March 27, 2017

Death Race Now

Did you think we were just going to skip Roger Corman's Death Race 2050 (2016)? Come on! The original, directed by Paul Bartel, was a riot. The modern spin-offs took the bare bones of the idea and tried to make an action franchise out of it (like they did with The Fast and the Furious). They were still mostly fun. But this is the real thing.

It's 2050, and the Corporate States of America are holding another Death Race - a race across the country with points for speed and for running over civilians. The race is hosted by the Chairman, Malcolm McDowell looking like Andy Rooney playing Donald Trump - Seriously, how did they get Trump into a movie released in Jan 2017? Did Corman know something we didn't?

The crowd's favorite is Frankenstein (Manu Bennett), who wears an iron mask to cover the hideous scars from past crashes. He ditched that pretty quickly. There's also a weird Christian/Elvisite cultist, a woman with a self-driving machine who doesn't need a man (if you know what I mean, and you can bet they make that as explicit as the rating allows), and body-beautiful Burt Grinstead, a totally hetero muscleman who likes to strip down and oil up.

While all of America watches on their virtual reality headsets (because real life sucks), a group of revolutionaries led by Folake Olowofoyeku are working to bring down the Chairman.

The humor is very broad and surprisingly topical. It's surprising because it follows the original story pretty closely. When Bartels made Death Race 2000, Corman was reportedly mad that it had so much comedy, and wanted to up the gore factor. This time around, he was happy to keep the comedy.

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