Death Race (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner25/09/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Death Race is a travesty of the original film but it delivers enough explosions, violence and vroom-vroom action to ensure that it remains entertaining if you leave your brain in neutral.

What's it all about?
A Corman-sanctioned remake of his 1975 original, Death Race is directed by Paul WS Anderson and stars Jason Statham as Jensen Ames, an ex-con-slash-racecar driver who finds himself framed for murder and sent to a high-security prison run by Warden Hennessey (Joan Allen). The reason for his frame-up soon becomes apparent, as Ames is forced to don the mask of the mythical driver Frankenstein and compete for his life in a televised, high-speed, no-holds-barred Death Race, orchestrated by the Warden and run from behind the prison walls, with the heavily-armoured cars all packing serious weaponry.

The Good
The cast do their best with a disappointingly pedestrian script, particularly Statham, who's reached the point where he can do this sort of thing in his sleep (scowl, grunt, throw a punch, repeat). Joan Allen brings the film a touch of class it doesn't really deserve, but she doesn't do as much with the part as you're hoping she will.

Whether intentional or not (as with 2 Fast, 2 Furious), the most amusing thing about the film is the quasi-homoerotic relationship that develops between Statham and Gibson. In addition, Ian McShane gets all the best lines as Ames' genius mechanic, while Natalie Martinez provides the requisite eye-candy as Ames' smoking hot co-driver (the women are bussed in from another prison – it's best not to ask).

The Bad
The action scenes are passable in that they deliver lots of explosions, gunfire and driving (there's even some ejector seat action) but the set-pieces are disappointing and the races quickly become monotonous, especially as the cars all look alike. In addition, the script strips out all the elements that made the original so much fun.

Worth seeing?
Death Race is watchable enough for a Friday night action movie, but it's nowhere near as much fun as the original.

Film Trailer

Death Race (15)
Death Race has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 Rurouni Kenshin 2: Kyoto Inferno (15)

Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, Tatsuya Fujiwara

image
02 Annie (tbc)

Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne

image
03 Paddington (PG)

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins

image
04 Get Santa (tbc)

Jim Broadbent, Warwick Davis , Rafe Spall

image
05 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (12A)

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Content updated: 26/11/2014 01:12

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (12A)

Jennifer Lawrence is back in the penultimate part of the spectacular Hunger Games series.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films