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Review: Death Race

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Death Race

Death Race ends the summer off with a bang.

Loosely based on the 1975 movie Death Race 2000, this not quite a remake-not quite a prequel-not quite a re-imagining of Death Race directed by Paul W. S. Anderson is set in a grimy near future where private prisons offer gladiatorial-like entertainment to bloodthirsty online audiences. Terminal Island warden Hennessy (Joan Allen) makes a killing through the lucrative webcasting of Death Race, a Nascar-to-the death competition featuring imprisoned drivers willing to kill themselves or others in a bid to win their freedom.

Hennessy’s cash cow is threatened, however, when her star driver, the masked Frankenstein, dies from injuries suffered in a crash. Enter Jensen Ames (Statham), a former race car champ and ex-con now falsely imprisoned for the murder of his wife. Hennessy offers Ames a chance to win his freedom (and reunite with his baby daughter) if he secretly assumes Frankenstein’s mantle. Without Frankenstein, the ratings and profits for Death Race would suffer.

Assisted by pit crew mechanic Coach (Ian McShane) and sexy navigator Case (newcomer Natalie Martinez) — scantily clad female convicts are bussed in to help boost ratings — Ames reluctantly assumes the identity of Frankenstein, risking life and limb on Hennessy’s speedway against other imprisoned drivers, including the scar-faced and remorseless Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson), 14K (Mortal Kombat’s Robin Shou), and Pachenko (LXG’s Max Ryan).

Armed with a tricked-out Mustang and nerves of steel, the desperate Ames must endure a three-day contest on Hennessy’s prison race track. The course is riddled with booby traps, the odds can be changed on a whim by Hennessy, and no one can truly be trusted, but none of this will keep Jensen Ames, a.k.a. Frankenstein, from doing what he must in order to escape this hellhole.

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Death Race Movie Posters

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Release date: Friday August 22, 2008
Genre: Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Studio: Universal Pictures
Producer(s): Jeremy Bolt, Paul W.S. Anderson, Paula Wagner
Screenplay: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane
Official Site:
Rating: R for strong violence and language
Available film art: Death Race movie posters

Jason Statham leads the cast of an action-thriller set in the post-industrial wasteland of tomorrow, with the world’s most brutal sporting event as its backdrop. A penitentiary full of felons has inspired the jailers to create a grisly pastime ripe for lucrative kickbacks. Now, adrenalized inmates, a global audience hungry for televised violence and a spectacular arena come together to form the “Death Race.”

Three-time speedway champion Jensen Ames (Statham) is an expert at survival in the harsh landscape that has become our country. Just as he thinks he has turned his life around, the ex-con is framed for a gruesome murder he didn’t commit. Forced to don the mask of the mythical driver Frankenstein — a crowd favorite who seems impossible to kill — Ames is given an easy choice by Terminal Island’s warden (Joan Allen): suit up or rot away in a cell.

His face hidden by a metallic mask, one convict will be put through an insane three-day challenge. Ames must survive a gauntlet of the most vicious criminals in the country’s toughest prison to claim the prize of freedom. Driving a monster car outfitted with machine guns, flamethrowers and grenade launchers, one desperate man will destroy anything in his path to win the most twisted spectator sport on Earth.

Buy Death Race movie posters here

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