For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Prison Films, here’s a review of Death Race (2008) by Kim of Tranquil Dreams
Thanks again to Jay of Life Vs. Film for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Ryan of Ten Stars or Less. We will be reviewing our favorite Boston Film(s).
According to Ryan’s research, this is probably the best list of movies set in Boston
Here is what appears to be the official/unofficial list of everything related to Boston movies
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Apr by sending them to BostonRyan@movierob.net
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Ryan!
Let’s see what Kim thought of this movie:
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Cast: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Ian McShane, Tyrese Gibson, Natalie Martinez, Max Ryan
“Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world’s most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory” – IMDB
Put Jason Statham and racing or pretty much anything super manly/testosterone-filled shenanigans and I’m down. There’s only a few actors in Hollywood that really can fit into these movies so incredibly well and most of them have gone through the Fast and the Furious or The Expendables franchises at this point. Death Race is really more of an adrenaline-filled guilty pleasure. In fact, how its gone on with direct to video sequels has truly amazed me to no end even if I haven’t seen any of them except maybe the second one. Death Race was an incredibly fun film. There’s a ton of over the top action in particular, not to mention some over the top acting from everybody.
Setting this film in a post-industrial world gave the cars a new sort of engineering and gear that really boosted how bad-ass these cars were to begin with. Jason Statham plays Jensen Ames who has the backstory that his family was killed and he was framed and tossed into this horrible prison and now has to take the place of this fallen masked champion racer because this champion’s stakes are so high from the people watching this and betting that the warden (played by Joan Allen) had to find a way to replace him so that the winning streak continues as people cheer for this masked racer’s freedom against some pretty crazy opponents.
Paul W. S. Anderson takes on the reins as director. For many, his movies are lacking like the Resident Evil franchise. However, he tends to add the atmosphere that works very well with his films. Perhaps its a darker feeling or the blend of being dark but creating an atmosphere and environment that reflects the dystopia well. The same applies for Death Race that always seem to have this darker tone especially with the prison setting and the grimy and aggressive environment this story is set up as. Of course, there is still injections of some humor with various characters that keeps it a fun watch.
Overall, Death Race is a pretty cool prison movie. The goal is to win the races and get their freedom. Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems. Joan Allen puts in a pretty wooden role as the all business warden who just wants to keep the audience happy and keep the sport exciting. Jason Statham fits perfectly in the role as does Tyrese Gibson who plays Machine Gun Joe. If you are looking for craft, this isn’t going to win any Oscars but its a super fun time with bad-ass cars and tons of action.