pointless prequel to an unnecessary remake . . .
If you’ll recall the 2008 Death Race was a
remake of the 1975 so-shite-it’s-good “classic”
Death Race 2000 starring Keith Carradine and Sylvester Stallone (!).
The remake, which starred Jason Statham, completely missed the point on what
made the original ‘Seventies movies so memorable in the first place. In that
movie racers scored points by running over as many pedestrians as they could
in addition to writing off their contestants as well as being the first over
the finishing line. The Statham remake was Death Race . . . on a
track. No pedestrians but loads of muscle cars armed to the teeth with
mounted machine guns and flame throwers.
It was an okayish testosterone-drenched movie. The sort of thing you’d rent
and get your buddies over for some beers - if they were of the sort who
checked out every single Fast & the Furious movie ever made. (Quick:
just how many of them are there?) Death Race 2 is more of the same
and the chances are that if you liked the Statham flick you’d be okay with
this one too even though it also misses the point and blows an opportunity
to make something more memorable. You see, Death Race 2 is a prequel
and the truth is that like most prequels, except maybe for Godfather Part
II, it is pretty much on the pointless side.
Ever wondered how they came up with the concept of the races featured in the
2008 Death Race?
Nope, we weren’t either. (We suspect that it involved a lot of business
meetings.) We wanted to get round to the pedestrian squashing bit (think
they own the road, do they?!) but Death Race 2 is the sort of
franchise entry that believes that fans would like nothing more than to
watch the first movie again.
So cue more endless car chases and prison movie clichés. But things are
worse this time round. The budget is lower and the movie was filmed in South
Africa for much cheaper.
When one thinks about it the 2010 World Cup must have done miracles for the
South African tourism industry. When they were handed a below par script
like the one for Death Race 2 the several “name” actors such as Sean Bean
(most of whose dialogue are unintelligible), Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo
were probably thinking “holiday in Cape Town” rather than “quality
The movie goes to some lengths to disguise its South African shooting
locations, even going to the bother of importing some left-hand drive muscle cars. (In South Africa they drive on the
left-hand side like
in the UK.) Dodgy accents aside it however blows it all in one shot which
prominently features Table Mountain, which is so iconic that it is like
catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in a movie that is supposed to be set
in New York! Geographically challenged teens who watch more episodes of Top
Gear than anything on National Geographic probably won’t even notice though
. . .
WORTH IT? Death Race 2 is the sort of movie in which they cast
the female cast members by paging through an issue of FHM magazine. The
stunts and car chases are more spectacular than you’d think, even though
they carry on for too long at stretches. If this sounds like your thing then
give it a shot, but under no circumstances is this a date movie . . .
RECOMMENDATION: If you do watch it, have lots of beer handy.
NOTE: Some in-jokes. The evil corporation in Death Race 2 is
one half of the evil corporation featured in Aliens.
Sean Bean watches a scene from the original Death
Race 2000 on television in one scene, which means that he is better off
than anyone watching this movie . . .