“Death Race” Thrill Ride, Not a Waste


Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller and Sports
Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.
Release Date: August 22nd, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language.
Distributors: Universal Pictures

Directed by:
Paul W.S. Anderson

JJ Rating: B+

Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) is a famous racecar driver who is sent to prison for killing his wife. He knows he doesn’t belong and so does Warden C. Hennessey (Joan Allen). When the Death Race, a famous televised event for the prison, comes around and he’s asked to race he knows why he was pulled into prison: ratings. Death Race.

It’s all about the action. It’s all about the fun. It’s not all about the plot or the believability. It would be awesome if such a race existed because it’s gladiator like and just like the sick Romans the Americans eat that stuff up. If only one could be a visual cannibal. Oh wait…

I like Jason Statham and Joan Allen. Statham is fun in several movies and his macho manliness is reassuring that such men still exists and that they are not marginalizing the genders to just fit on in. Plus he always gets into a fight and I like watching him fight. That’s what made The Transporter so much fun. Allen just has a hot, older woman presence that just reigns. She was the only saving grace (in most of) the Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum.

The storyline was weak. There were lots of characters that were rich because of name and look but were only used for certain lines and looks and then removed. Like the guy that was supposedly the bad, bad man. He was removed faster than I had anticipated. The movie ran on what I thought was an anti-climatic scale the entire time. There was a climax but it wasn’t nearly as big as the explosion would have one believe.

The action and the racing were fun and entertaining. The lines had some great moments that were funny, especially lines from the very staunch looking Joan Allen. Some of her lines are said so seriously that they are funny because they are coming from her, and that’s a good thing. I believe that’s what they were getting at.

Death Race was just a fun movie that I enjoyed watching. The trailer gave away too much, though, and that sort of took some of the fun away. The idea is interesting and it would be cool to see such on television because then the prisoners would be paying for their massive bills they incur. I won’t buy this one nor really have any want to see it again. Death Race was a fun, deadly thrill ride that didn’t, surprisingly, feel like it wasted my time.

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