Starring: Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Joan Allen, Ian McShane, Natalie Martinez, Jason Clarke, Max Ryan, and Jacob Vargas.
Directed By: Paul WS Anderson
Plot: Jensen Ames (Statham) is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to a prison where he is forced to participate in a Death Race as Frankenstein, and potentially earn his freedom again.
What Works: For a Paul WS Anderson movie, this isn’t bad. This is also my second viewing, and I think I had the same amount of fun with this film on second viewing that I did the first time. It’s far from a perfect film, but it is somewhat watchable and has some fun elements. Statham is his usual badass self. Allen hams it up as the villain. The supporting cast is OK. I like the concept, even though it isn’t original, and the race scenes are pretty cool. Again, just remind yourself this is a Paul WS Anderson film, so your expectations are lowered.
What Doesn’t Work: The film treats all the other racers mostly like disposable garbage, so their swift eliminations are pointless. I swear some were eliminated so quickly I didn’t even notice they were dead. And for a remake of a Roger Corman film, Death Race is surprisingly non-violent. Everything happens so quickly, or in almost a PG-13 way. There was maybe one or two scenes where I was like… “oh, that’s R rated.” Most of it is very tame.
Final Word: Like I said, I somewhat enjoyed this the first time around, and I somewhat enjoyed this the second time around. I don’t know if I’ll ever watch this a third time. I’m not sure what compelled me to watch this again in the first place. It’s not a good film, but it’s not a bad film either. It’s not something that demands to be seen twice, that’s for sure.
FInal Grade: C