It’s no secret that I love Jason Statham. I would watch just about any movie he’s in. When I first started seeing trailers for Death Race, I was super-excited since it involved Jason Statham and gratuitous violence – two of my favorite things in an action movie. However, you have to go into this movie knowing it’s a ridiculous action movie, completely unbelievable, and not at all based in any sort of reality. Knowing that, read on.
The United States economy has collapsed and people are losing their jobs at alarming rates. The crime rate rises, the prisons fill, and a new sport is born. It starts as cage matches, like the gladiators of Ancient Greece, and morphs into a death race. Prisoners are given cars that have been pimped beyond belief – machine guns, defensive weapons like smoke, and a giant shield on the back of the car called The Tombstone. They race in three stages. The first two stages aren’t a race to the finish, but a race to survive. The man to cross the finish line first in the third stage wins. Win five races and you’re a free man. Oh, and all of this is broadcast pay-per-view style and makes the prison millions of dollars.
Jason Statham plays Jensen Ames, a former NASCAR driver, current prisoner who had been framed for killing his wife. The warden (a very badass Joan Allen) makes Ames a deal – you drive in the place of the most popular driver, Frankenstein, (who was killed in the last race, but the crowd can’t know that because then the ratings will drop) and you’ll get your release papers. Frankenstein only had one more race to win to hit five.
Ames steps into Frankenstein’s shoes and races with the assistance of Frank’s former team. Mega amounts of violence ensue. Such as a racer getting out of his car to gloat that he can’t be killed, only to be obliterated by a swerving car. Or the massive amount of machine gunnery. Or the tank-like vehicle that has flamethrowers attached to the side. Not to mention the scene where Statham beats some guy with a fire extinguisher.
If you like explosions, violence, and Jason Statham’s fabulous British accent, this movie is definitely for you. If you like your movies with silly things like a reasonable plotline or any basis in reality, skip it. I, however, will be seeing it again. And often.
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