Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

'Death Race' is mediocre reincarnation of sci-fi classic

Death Race (2008)
Starring: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Natalie Martinez, Ian McShane, and Tyrese Gibson
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

A disgraced racecar driver (Statham) is framed for muder so a corrupt prison warden (Allen) can force him to take part in the Death Race, a contest where convicted killers drive heavily armed cars to earn freedom or death.

"Death Race" is a humorless remake of Roger Corman's classic "Death Race 2000". It's an okay movie with decent actors--Jason Statham seems to be making a career out of playing hardbitten characters who drive fast cars--and cool effects and exploding cars, but it's all pyrotechnics and postering without any soul... not even the ludicrous soul of the 1975 cheese-fest.

The film is entertaining, and it made me want to break out my old "Car Wars" game--but, alas, I don't even know anyone who I'd ask to play it with me anymore--but that's about it. (Come to think of it, the "Car Wars" games I played were more exciting than this movie, with characters and cars that were just as interesting as what's in this film.)

"Death Race" is a mediocre effort that will not stand the test of time. No one remember this movie in 30 years... or even in three years. Students of classic B-movies may still be talking about the original, though.

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