Aug 25, 2008

Death Race

At the helm of this schlocky (not the compliment you'd come to expect) racing action film is world renowned action star Jason Statham whose primary goal is to drive this film somewhere other than in the gutter. It works to a degree before the other cast subsequently drags him and this movie into a homo-erotic prison hell.

Death Race is an exercise in gambling with property rights. When you take a director with a horrifying reputation in Hollywood with such blunders as the ill-fated Resident Evil and the too-tacky Mortal Kombat, chances are that your remake has no chances. The machine is just designed that way. Where Paul W. S. Anderson shows for no talent, he too can create an awesome film (Event Horizon) and completely disregard something he had briefly called talent.

Remakes have and always will be there. It's been that way for years. The only difference now is the quality and quantity of them. I'm sure in about 10-20 years, our collective society will look back upon the film era and scoff at the insubordination and lack of creativity when it comes to our modern film. If there were to be one rule of remakes, it should be to not insult the original vision and that is exactly what Anderson does.

You might recall the classic exploitation original - Death Race 2000. You might also remember the wonderful point system, surprising political messages, and the wonderful system provided by Frank and Machine Gun Joe as to shelter the truth on which is hero or villain. Well, take Machine Gun Joe for instance. Sylvester Stallone plays a wonderful womanizer who is as cocky as he is arrogant. Well, now he's a homosexual Negro who jive talks his way out of tight situations.

It's like Anderson purposely wanted to make a vision of Death Race 2000 opposite of what it was. Terrible news - He succeeded. Jail bait Latino women are introduced as navigators, not the reserved daughters of America that we recall from the classic. These women are gang-banging thugs that are street wise and sexy. They aint mind poppin a cap (Napalm canister) inna foo's ass. Sounds like Michael Bay wrote the script, don't it?

For the defense of entertainment, this "reboot" (which has a lawsuit filed on it from stealing a ideas from a film called Joust) has what we expect from the trailer, violence, bloodshed, high-octane car chases, and lots of bullet casings. They threw in the MTV generation women for shits & giggles. Keep in mind that most of the gross revenue that this film will make is from men. Men who read Maxim none-the-less.

The concept of a freedom fighting Frankenstein conserving his country's freedom looks great on paper, not so much a pyramid scheme to fake Frankenstein to keep the illusion alive. The vision of this film is blurred and scratched. Paul W. S. Anderson is a dying breed. One can only hope that these fascist directors are weeded out by their roots. Death Race is loud and annoying, frenetic and a bit full of itself. The film still manages to be entertaining, but I would never recommend paying for it or for die-hard fans of the original.



Fred [The Wolf] said...

I agree with you. I kind of like the original for its camp value and colorful characters. This one is like the total opposite. It took the whole situation too seriously for me. I didn't think it was horrible but it should have been a lot better. I think the acting and the action were the highlights, but that's not really saying much here. Nice review.

By the way, I've been a fan of your blog for a while now. You're one of my friends on MySpace, plus I also have my own blog that I would appreciate if you had a link to on your site. It's at I have a link to yours on mine already. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I was going to see this film tomorrow, but I think I'll skip it. Thanks for the review!

And Paul Anderson has a horrifying reputation? The three "Resident Evil" films all cleared somewhere between 80 and 100 million above what they cost to make. Given that the dollar matters above all to those who really matter in Hollywood, I should think that Anderson's reputation is just fine. (Unless you're referring to an artistic reputation... and if Hollywood cares about such a thing now, I missed the memo!)

Plus, I rather liked RE 1 and 3. (The middle one sucked to high heaven, though. I also did like "Event Horizon," so we can agree on that one.)

Soiled Sinema said...

No mercy for Anderson.
All RE films sucked.
I love opinions, but we can never agree on them having any merit.
And by reputation, I mean the verbal massacre that he has received on his Castlevania script.