Death Race Review

Death-Race-Review.jpgThanks for checking out our Death Race Review. If you’d like to see the video version of our Death Race review, you can check it out at the bottom of our written version.

There used to be a plethora of legitimate big screen action heroes for us to go and idolize on Saturday afternoons. Jean Claude, Sylvester, Arnold, Segal and a handful of others. These days it’s hard to point to a legit action hero with the possible exceptions of The Rock (yeah he likes to go by Dwayne Johnson now… but he’ll always be “The Rock”) and maybe even more so, Jason Statham.

Death Race comes along, and obviously it’s a remake of the 1975 classic… and almost as obvious is that it’s a very lose remake. Not many people have been giving any buzz to this flick, including myself since despite the presence of Joan Allen, has looked cheap at best and an abomination at worst. So off we went to catch Death Race. Was it as bad as we thought it would be. Actually… no.

THE GENERAL IDEA

The synopsis for Death Race looks something like this: “In 2012, the United States economy collapses and life for everyone is not the same. Once a NASCAR champion, Jensen Ames, (Jason Statham), hits rock bottom and spent several years in prison. His life was improving and changing for the better after meeting and marrying Suzy (Janaya Stephens) and having a baby girl. Then the steel mill closes, and he loses his job. But that was not the worst thing to happen to Jenson that day. Suzy is brutally murdered, and he is framed for her murder. Jenson is sent to Terminal Island, the worst and toughest for-profit prison in the country run by Warden Hennessey (Joan Allen). She has created the country’s most popular pay-per-view sport, a kill-or-be-killed car race where the inmates race to win their freedom from prison after 5 wins. Every inmate driver is driving a monster car that they built which is loaded with machine guns, missiles, flamethrowers, napalm, and no rules. Warden Hennessey convinces Jensen to secretly take the place of the late 4-time superstar winner, Frankenstein, and wear his metallic mask in the race. If Jensen wins just one race, he can go home to his baby daughter. To get to the finish line, Jensen must kill his competition before they kill him.”

THE GOOD

One of the things I wasn’t expecting from this little flick were laughs, but surprisingly enough I caught myself giggling a bunch of time throughout the movie. Yes, most of the laughs came from the over the top visual violence… but there are a number of crisp one liners throughout that kept me engaged beyond just the crazy violence. Speaking of which…

I knew that if there was going to be any saving grace for Death Race it would have to come from sheer quantity and quality violence. My friends this movie nails it right on the head in this regard!!! The brutal weaponized car on car psycho violence was INSANE! The movie starts with a great action sequence and then just keeps delivering for the rest of the hour and a half run time. There were several spots where both Doug and I jumped out of our seats. It was good stuff.

One thing I don’t mention very often is sound design. Death Race had AMAZING sound design! The sound of the car races pulls you into the action almost as well as the visuals did. As a matter of fact, the last time I so clearly noticed sound design like this was when I watch the Pod Race scene in The Phantom Menace. It was killer.

THE BAD

Action and some giggles aside, this isn’t a very good movie. The plot and the set up are beyond stupid, the dialog throughout wasn’t the worst I’ve heard all year, but still quite poor. Whenever someone had to say anything beyond one line, it usually ended up making me cringe.

I swear, this movie was more of a “Shawshank Redemption” remake than it was a “Death Race” remake. Seriously, it had far more in common with Shawshank… to the point that I’ll call it out and proclaim it a pure rip off.

Lead Character
Shawshank – A man with a skill useful to the warden that is falsely accused of killing his wife
Death Race – A man with a skill useful to the warden that is falsely accused of killing his wife

Warden
Shawshank – Corrupt, quotes the bible, wants to keep hero in Jail selfishly
Death Race – Corrupt, quotes the bible, wants to keep hero in Jail selfishly

Best Friend
Shawshank – Understands the prison system, been in a long time, afraid to leave jail
Death Race – Understands the prison system, been in a long time, afraid to leave jail

The similarities go on and on. it was quite annoying actually.

OVERALL

A bad comedy can be saved if it at least makes people laugh. A bad horror can be saved if it at least creeps people out. And so to, a bad action movie can be saved if it’s exciting and fun to look at. Death Race, although a “bad” film, is ultimately saved because of its crazy and fun action. You walk out entertained despite the glaring weaknesses inherent in the other aspects of the film. I ended up liking it. Overall I give Death Race a 6.5 out of 10.

Here’s the video version of our Death Race review:

43 thoughts on “Death Race Review

  1. 1) I personally think that rhubarb crumble is the best crumble, but pretty much any kind is really nice.
    2) Scene4u’s comment was pathetic, almost as pathetic as the the fact that they allowed an author with a single digit IQ to write this review.
    3) Also, John I was just wondering what the time-difference in Montreal is so I would be very grateful if you could tell me because I have a friend there but I am not sure what time I should call him.

  2. I think the movie was good it had its highs and lows but in all actuality it was a good movie…really it was short and sweet and perfect and you cheered when Jason character exacted revenge on those who put him there….i liked it it was like a live action video game

  3. I play violent video games and watch plenty of violent/horror movies. For some reason this one just made me sick and I had to turn it off after “Stage 1” of the race. The idea of such cruelly inflicted violence in the context of any kind of sport or competition disgusts me, I worry for anybody who got pleasure out of this film. I admit the action was done very well. Actually if it was more stupid/comical and less cruel/psychopathic, I might have actually watched the whole thing.

  4. Hey – I remember liking the babies name in this movie. I am pregnant and trying a make a list of baby names. Can anyone shed any light?

    Thanks B

  5. man this movie was okay…. it made me laught. kinda. but it also made me sad because why did that girl have to die……. 666

  6. thought ur review was good, didnt expect to enjoy the movie but was pleasantly suprised! did anyone think it was just like ‘the condemned’ but in cars?

  7. Lol i thought this film was a joke, and as a member of the gay community the only reason why i went to see it was to get a glimpse of Jason’s tight ass.

    In addition, I am also a member of the Death Race community; and in the film, I am the black guy who drives and aims the gun at Jason. I’m so good. :D

  8. Some of you have no grasp on what John said.
    He is in no way at any point, slating The Shawshank Redemption.
    He was simply making a point about the movie not sticking to the plot of the original it is based on in a humourous way.
    Thanks for the review – based on this I’m sure it’ll be an excellent waste of a couple of hours. ;)

  9. Something similar happened to me with Punisher. It’s not a good movie but it has great action secuences, creepy deads, and a great freak ending with Travolta exploding out around a lot of firig cars forming a skull.

  10. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)

    the movie is excellent and the review is fair…Statham exactly delivered what the viewers expected…speed, violence, humor and great sound design…my whole team loves it in the silver screen…

  11. Are you kidding me? Even though it mirrors Shawshank redemption who says that is bad thing. Because I dont know about anyone else but I thought that Shawshank was an award winning movie but I guess I am one of very few

  12. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so) What ever happend to going to a movie for fun!! With All the DRAMA From TV SHOWS And spilling into Main Stream Movies. Its only a good movie if you can Take a women to it and she likes it. Al movies today HAVE to have A love Story to get a good Rewiew. Thats Just NO FUN TO ME!!!! We all (Men) have become a country of BITCHES….

  13. God forbid you actually put a GOOD STORY in front of good action and effects. Can’t be bothered with such trivial things.

  14. This is way off topic but I have to ask. Maybe I am imagining things but didn’t there used to be an article about your (John) top 100 movies?

  15. yeah i enjoyed it, overall. it got a 6.9 out of me. the action was great, and the sequences were phenomal. but, to anyone who hasn’t seen the film, just expect action and awesome effects and youll be good

  16. This ones a rental at best.
    If they would have stuck to the original film’s concept I would be there in the theater but since they went down the “Running Man” road I’m disinterested and disgusted.

  17. hey john, why are you so upset about the fact that it might be a shawshank-ripoff? even if so, ‘death-race’ is not promoting itself by saying ‘this movie is a better version of shawshank’…

    i agree with you that shawshank is one of the best movies ever seen, but i wouldn´t bother movies taking the constellations of characters and develope a certainly different movie around it.

    as far as this movie goes i consider it a ‘no-brainer’ i will definitly enjoy on the big screen…with a cuple of beers.

  18. pretty much how i felt about it.

    did anyone else get some lulz from the multiple ‘hot body’ montages that just seemed to keep going?

  19. Erm, no i did not see Death Race and have no wish to. Hellboy 2 is finally out here in the UK and i’m going to see that tonight.

    I suppose i should be flattered that anyone would try and impersonate me.

  20. I think you got this one right.

    If you go in just expecting good violent action and aren’t terribly focused on the plot, your definitely going to enjoy yourself quite a bit.

    The plot wasn’t there but they nailed the comedic timing and action scenes perfectly. I wanted cars exploding and intense action, and that’s what it delivered.

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