America’s economy has plummeted and riots and crimes have broken out across the country sending many to jail. One prison gives the incarcerated an option to enter an auto race and win their release papers after five wins. The main character is wrongfully accused and finds himself forced into this world of carnage and fighting for his freedom.
Does this sound familiar? Maybe you saw it when it was entitled RUNNING MAN or THE CONDEMNED and starred other action heroes. Not that this film was horrible, as the lead guy played by the hunky Jason Statham, is likeable, has some decent one-liners and is on a path of revenge, it’s just that the story has been done many times before. If you can get past the regurgitated plot I think you may find, as I did, DEATH RACE is a fun film to watch.
I happen to enjoy most Jason Statham movies and not just because he spends the majority of the film with his shirt off. I like the action and all of the fight scenes that I know will be guaranteed when I sit to watch him. He’s a great action star and I’m happy that he has replaced my beloved Arnold and Sly and I look forward to many years of his films. His performance in DEATH RACE was no exception and if you are a fan of him as an actor I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. He has some great sequences in the prison as well as in the car, and he delivers as usual.
As for the rest of the film, I was entertained and pleasantly surprised. I was glad to see Joan Allen again and I found her character fun to hate. And Ian McShane is a great actor who always adds a touch of class to his characters that makes him so likeable. The supporting characters were good but they were undeveloped which left room for more action which I appreciate, although it makes it hard to relate to any of them. Even Statham’s character was not developed enough, in my opinion, to really care if any serious harm befell him. A little more back story would have been nice but I understand that it would have slowed the plot.
The racing sequences were well done and not too long. The film had a nice flow to it making the 111 minutes fly by. Hollywood has had so many car chase and race sequences in the past decade that it’s tough to be surprised and excited when watching them, however DEATH RACE delivered in this arena. All of the four races shown were exciting and interesting. Although this story has been done several times before, this film had a few twists that kept it new and engaging.
Overall, I think if you like action and Jason Statham I don’t think you’ll be disappointed as this film has a lot of both. The gore and gruesome scenes were kept to a minimum making this a more enjoyable time and I would recommend it to even the most squeamish of movie goers.