Death Race (Unrated)
Format: Pre-Owned Blu-Ray
Mayhem rules in Death Race, a head-over-heels remake of the Roger Corman cult classic Death Race 2000, in which cars become lethal weapons. The strength of this new version is its total single-mindedness about vehicular homicide; it has the virtue of no cluttering subplots or simpering sentimentality. And banish all memory of the original's wild satirical comedy: Death Race is as grim as a dinner tray to the face (a reference that will be explained in a key sequence). In a slightly futuristic maximum-security prison, cons take part in brutal races around the island prison, their violent deaths watched live by millions of viewers. Jason Statham, possibly cast because of his driving dexterity in the Transporter movies, plays a man wrongly imprisoned for murder. Joan Allen provides her brittle cool as the warden, who recruits Statham to assume the masked persona of a legendary driver called Frankenstein. Tyrese Gibson is Frankie's main rival, Natalie Martinez provides the fetching eye candy, but the acting honors go to Ian McShane, as the philosophical prison mechanic. One misses the cross-country race from the original film, as the setting here is claustrophobic and the cars are largely colorless and indistinguishable from each other. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) continues to display the sensibility of a video-game addict, which will either be a recommendation or a turn-off, depending on your own tastes. At least it doesn't have the hypocritical moral blathering of something like the somewhat similar Condemned--who knew you could be so grateful for simple, straight-forward head-bashing? --Robert Horton
DVDs & Blu-ray include disc, cover art, and case. Bonus downloadable or promotional content may have already been redeemed. Promotional items (3-D glasses, figurines, t-shirts, posters, jewelry, books or other non-media items) may not be included. Cleaning and repair was done as required.