This is Paul W.S Anderson’s best film. Now, that’s not necessarily high praise, but the writer/director’s latest effort is far better than his previous films, like Resident Evil and Alien vs Predator. Death Race is a re-make of the 1975 film, entitled Death Race 2000 which was like a combination of The Fast and The Furious and the 80s Arnie actioner, Running Man. David Carradine, who starred in the original has a voice cameo in the newie’s opener.
Starring the chiselled Jason Statham, Joan Allen as the prison warden, and Ian McShane as the aptly named Coach this is a combo of tough inmates and tougher cars. Jason is a man set up for the murder of his wife and is soon enrolled in Death Race, a prison centered, televised sport involving mean men, meaner cars (with big guns) and attractive women. There’s no real surprises here, except the fact that I thought the film was too short. There’s no scenes set outside the prison really, apart from the ending, which is tainted with a schmaltzy and entirely unnecessary voice-over. Anderson uses the biggest budget he’s ever had creatively to ensure the action is maxed out with testosterone, and gory deaths but the film lacks any depth and is a one trick pony. He’s always been a better director than writer and his top notch films are the ones in which he performs the latter role only, like 1997′s Event Horizon. However, Death Race is a pleasant enough distraction, and Statham is the action man of the hour for a reason.