Death Race (2008)
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Ian McShane
guy gets wrongly convicted of killing his wife. goes to jail, gets recruited to drive in a DEATH RACE. if he wins, he goes free. if he loses he's DEAD! lots of explosions, and revving engines. oh, and this all takes place in a dystopian future, two years from now, where the economy has crashed and people watch prisoners killing each other to entertain themselves like the days of roman yore.
This movie wasn't just bad; it was poor. The story was weak and it took a really long time and an inordinate number of effects and explosions to get to an ending which was both unbelievable and telegraphed. This is a stupid, futuristic action movie and suspension of disblief is critical. I can suspsend disbelief on the technical stuff, in fact I didn't even think about it. But the parameters of the prison and the race itself are at odds with acceptance of what happens. Onerous and complicated where it could have been straightforward, nobody, least of all someone framed for killing his wife, could be so retarded as to believe there was any chance of honesty in the administration. And with its power-ups and shield charms and the like, the race itself was like a bad video game.
Yes. That was a critique of the storyline of "Death Race," starring Jason Statham. Fucking deal with it.
Speaking of Statham (but only briefly), my woman as usual did her research and put the main players above the synopsis. She could just as easily have put, "plywood, drywall, granite, and Ian McShane," because exactly one person acted in this movie. McShane was the silk toilet roll on the ass of the screenwriter. Joan Allen wasn't slumming it as I thought she would be; she was semaphoring it in. Screaming at the top of ones lungs without communicating any emotion may be a skill, but it's not a skill for this movie. There's also a character called Pachenko here. If he had been replaced by the Panchenko--both character and actor--from "The Cutting Edge" it would have been an improvement.
Looking behind the camera, the special effects and explosions were rendered well. The production was...wait for it...stupid, showing a clock--replete with seconds--at disparate times on three different days and never again serves no purpose. How, exactly, is that supposed to generate tension? Direction was terrible as well. There's one spot in the beginning where the camera is supposed to move around and focus into a two-shot but the impact is ruined because the DP couldn't make them look like they were in the same plane.
I adore a bad action movie. I'm a lover of Don "The Dragon" Wilson and JCVD and the fucking SyFy channel. But give me a break.
tonucci made us put this on our queue. yes, i'm blaming you, tonucci! i liked 'the condemed' better, with stone cold steve austin. same plot, but stone cold steve austin plays an uncover special ops guy, and they don't use cars to kill each other, just explosives and knives and fists.... like real men. i bet the pitch was like this: 'the condemned' +the 'twisted metal' game franchise= a big paycheck for jason statham. as far as crap movies go, this one was pretty outrageous. the target audience for this was obviously 12- 15 year old boys. some of the lines actually sounded like this was actually written by a 15 year old kid. discussions about cars, and engines, and chicks, man. with a cast like this you would think it would be bad on the awesomely side, and i still haven't quite decided which way i'm leaning. it is a thin line between laughable bad, and bad, bad, and yet this seems to teeter right on it.
this movie doesn't bother much with plot. a good 90% of it is the DEATH RACE! with guns, and explosions and 'hot' chicks, and people dying, in a mildly graphic way. i think it would have been more awesome if there was a little more graphic gore. actually, that might be the ingredient to tip it to the awesome side. there were also, great throw away lines to explain major plot points. it reminded me of 'thank you for smoking' and the discussion about smoking in space, with movie exec, rob lowe.
all in all i just don't think it was bad enough. oh well. are they making a sequel?