Death Race (2008) - Theatrical Review

Theatrical
Death Race (2008)
Death Race (2008) – Theatrical Review

Terminal Island, New York: 2020. Overcrowding in the US penal system has reached a breaking point. Prisons have been turned over to a monolithic Weyland Corporation, which sees jails full of thugs as an opportunity for televised sport. Adrenalized inmates, a global audience hungry for violence and a spectacular, enclosed arena come together to form the 'Death Race', the biggest, most brutal event.

Edward survives Death Race

He’s been set free.

It’s that time of the year again, you know, that time that we all forget about, and then say “Oh yeah! That guy was in The Transporter, and that other movie with Brad Pitt”. I’m, of course, talking about another Jason Statham action movie. This time he’s an ex world champion racer who’s accused of killing his wife. He’s sent to The Terminal, a corporate run prison, where he’s forced to race for his freedom. And you thought your job was hell!I didn’t go into Death Race expecting an Emmy award-winning movie; in fact, I didn’t even expect a Teen Choice award-winning movie. What I did expect was another extraordinarily predictable, action-packed, Jason Statham movie, and boy did it deliver.The story was predictable; I knew the ending just by watching the trailers. But that’s not why you see a movie like this. You’ll see Death Race because you don’t feel like having thoughts provoked – you just want to buy a $10 popcorn and enjoy some blood, guts, and carnage. Unfortunately, even if you go in to Death Race knowing all that, there are still things that will drive you batty. For starters, the camera work is vomit-inducing. It’s like the crew from Cloverfield filmed it, and it made the races almost impossible to follow. Shaky cam seems to be a new trend in so called “edgy” film making but, while it definitely works with some stories, the camera work in Death Race was supposedly done for a live broadcast. If that were true, then it’s amazing they got the amount of viewer ship they did! It looks like 2012 is a bleak year for TV!

There’s also a plot hole that will irritate anybody from Detroit. The movie is set in 2012, but they use cars from 2008. For instance, our protag drives a heavily modified current body style Mustang. You’ll also see a 2008 Chrysler 300C and Dodge Ram. The rest of the world probably won’t notice, but being from Motown, it’s hard for me to ignore such a huge plot hole. In fact, if it wasn’t for the opening scene where it says “In 2012” there’s absolutely no way I would’ve known it was the future. Then again, this is just a Statham movie, and I might be wasting my time even thinking about said plot holes.

The acting was, well, exactly what you would expect it to be, rubbish. Statham plays Jensen Ames, the aforementioned driver. I’ve started to think that Statham is not actually acting. What the director actually does it place him in these situations, and film his reaction. Seriously, he doesn’t “act” he “does”, Statham is the same person in EVERY film, regardless of the era, situation, or plot. Ian McShane plays Coach and, you guessed it, he plays Ames’ older, wiser, mentor. Natalie Martinez plays Case, Ames’ co-driver and super hot side kick. There isn’t much to say about Case, besides the fact that she’s hot, and doesn’t wear much in the way of clothes. There are also a handful of other equally shallow characters that aren’t really worth mentioning. Needless to say, the acting was truly unimpressive.

For all of its flaws, and there certainly are a lot. Death Race was exactly what I expected. There was one twist that I didn’t see coming, but it was minor, and in the end it changed nothing. I don’t doubt that this film will come out at the #1 spot, unless Tropic Thunder can continue to hold its position. But, it’s no Dark Knight that’s for sure! Regardless, if you feel like seeing a brain dead action movie, then go see Death Race. Otherwise, wait for it to enter endless re-runs on a cable channel near you!

6

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