So yes, today I decided to spend some money and visit ye olde cinema. I saw adverts for Death Race and had read news before it was released about it being made. Now being a fan of the original after watching it as a child; yes, I do have awesome parents, I couldn’t help but feel skeptical about how well this new version would go. The plot of a race to the death is pretty much the same (along with some original characters such as Frankenstein and Machine Gun Joe (Verturbo)), just everything else around it is different. The sweet filling of death-filled car-nage (haha, I make pun!) is unchanged; apart from CGI these days makes the original look really shit, but the casing and topping of this pie are different…. Ok, i’ll stop with the pie analogy.
I always found the original intriguing; and more so with age, but not because of the race, but because of the odd society in which a Death Race can be allowed. Death Race 2000 doesn’t explain about the society and just forces you to believe that in our growing crave for entertainment, this highly immoral race emerged. The new version of the film deals with this whole messed up society rather well. There’s a nice intro sequence in text form explaining how this has happened and it’s actually quite a believable premise. America has hit depression and has lost control of it’s employment levels, directly resulting in a rise in crime. Corporations now run prisons and rehabilitation camps for profit but the prisons are over subscribed. The quest for ratings and money has lead to the Death Race being created, but it also gave the public a hero to put their trust in, Frankenstein. The plot develops from here (although I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to spoil anything) and the mayhem unravels.
A very good film with some nice links to the original. It’s easily watchable without seeing the original, but seeing the new versions of the classic characters is somewhat uplifting. Frankenstein as a character is similar to the original, along with his heated relationship with Machine Gun Joe. The action was a little disorientating towards the start, but it does ease up and becomes less head ache enducing. Some of the deaths in this film are just plain old brutal and even made me wince a little. I can recall two deaths in particular.
I definately recommend it for anyone, be it fans of the original, or for those that didn’t even know there was an original.