Death Race 3: Inferno Blu-ray Review

You know exactly what you’re going to get with a movie called DEATH RACE. The same goes for DEATH RACE 2. But DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO? That subtitle could mean anything.

Death Race 3 Inferno

That, of course, isn’t true, and once again, it’s on your marks, get set…kill! This time around, Weyland (Ving Rhames, reprising his role from the 2010 sequel), organizer of the pay-per-view sporting event, has lost the rights of the Death Race brand to billionaire Niles York (Dougray Scott, known to the target demographic’s girlfriend as DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES’ Ian Hainsworth) who plans to globalize Death Race and make it the most profitable sport ever. His plan involves more cars, more guns, more death.

One problem: fan favorite Frankenstein (Luke Gross, who took over the role from Jason Statham) needs one more Death Race win to be granted his freedom. Niles takes the show away from Terminal Island and into the African desert, where he hopes to get rid of Frankenstein. Meanwhile, Frankenstein has to regain the trust of his former pals Goldberg (Danny Trejo), Katrina (Tanit Phoenix) and Lists (Fred Koehler), who all thought him to be dead.

Death Race Inferno

Directing this collision of mayhem and betrayal is Roel Reiné, who’s made something of a career out of sequels, having also helmed THE MARINE 2, THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION and, yes, DEATH RACE 2. (The original’s director, Paul W.S. Anderson, again serves as producer, seeing as he had his own sequel, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION, on his plate.)  But that won’t matter to the audiences, as there are really no distinct differences in approach between Anderson and Reiné. The target viewer wants INFERNO to keep with the traditions (noise, carnage, maybe a naked woman somewhere in the middle) of the 2008 and 2010 entries. In short, it does, and INFERNO lives up to its cover art (with tough-guy mugs and exploding vehicles) and the franchise’s reputation.

Death Race Inferno

It’s all here: the fistfights, the catfights, the muscular meatheads, the armored vehicles, the rockets, the explosions, the flamethrowers (oh! INFERNO! Now I get it!), the chases, the crashes, the slow motion, the twin serial killers, the crazy character names (Razor, Psycho, Nero, Joker, Sgt. Fury, Calamity J., 14K). It even has an ending that hints that, in just a few years, there will be yet another direct-to-video sequel. (Only Anderson’s first installment was released theatrically, and grossed just $36 million domestically.)

Four years ago, I reviewed DEATH RACE for another website. I concluded it was “the very definition of mindless action” and gave it one star. The first part holds true for DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO, but I can’t find a reason to give it such a low rating. In the end, it does what a DTV sequel of a bad action movie should.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO doesn’t have a slick look to it and so the Blu-ray may initially be mistaken as having poor quality. However, the look is intentional and the video transfer is faithful to director Roel Reiné’s vision. That vision does prove limiting at times, but there are still plenty of strong details throughout.

Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1; French DTS Digital Surround 5.1.  One of the recurring trademarks of the modern DEATH RACE movies is the noise, and the audio transfer on this Blu-ray makes every car, sound effect and music cue loud and accounted for, just as fans would want it.

Death Race 3 Inferno

Included are both Unrated and Rated versions of DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO.

Feature commentary with director Roel Reiné: Reiné provides a detailed track, touching on a number of topics, including the cast, the budget and taking the story in a different direction than its predecessors.

The Making of DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO (10:38): This standard making-of featurette uses interviews, clips and behind-the-scenes footage to provide an overview of the movie’s production.

Racing for Death (5:57) focuses on the movie’s many chases and races.

Art Imitating Life: Goldberg (5:21): This featurette focuses on the character of Goldberg, played by Danny Trejo.

Deleted Scenes (11:50): There are nine here. They are: “I’m Ready to Do for You,” “One Win Away from Freedom,” “Technically That’s Not Land,” “Matthew 13:49,” “Hope You Enjoy the Show,” “You Are the Best Driver,” “Kill as a Team,” “Too Many Deals,” and “Full of Surprises.” In similar vein are the Deleted Shots Montage (4:59) and Alternate Opening (5:21).

Also included is a DVD/Digital Copy.

OVERALL 3
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