Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hunger Game Road Warriors, or Thoughts on Death Race 2050

David Carradine abolished the race in the 1975 movie, but it’s business as usual in Death Race 2050 (2017), a direct to video movie from the original producer, the legendary Roger Corman.  New Zealand superstar Manu Bennett, Crixus from Spartacus (2010) and Azog the Defiler in The Hobbit Trilogy (2012) takes over David Carradine’s role as Frankenstein, the cyborg driver with a heart of gold.
Rob Zombie collaborator Malcom McDowell from Halloween (2001) , 31 (2016) who is stretching the limits of the free pass he gets from me for A Clockwork Orange (1971), is the Chairman/President of the UCP, the United Corporations of America.  The movie takes place 50 years after the original and the premise is the same; a live televised race (now in virtual reality) where drivers accumulate points by killing pedestrians.  Think Hunger Games but with cars and actual adults.
There are some new drivers; Jed Perfectus in a golden speedo, along with an artificial intelligence car with a kinky German co-pilot, a religious fundamentalist driver and a hip hop/rap star driver.  Alexis Hamilton takes over Thomasina Paine’s role as the leader of the rebellion.  David Carradine had a Marlon Brando level of arrogance that is missing from Manu Bennett’s likeable performance, and the movie ignores the Jason Statham 2008 remake and subsequent trilogy with Death Race 2 (2010) and Death Race 3: Inferno (2013, I have to say I love that title). 
 Equal parts Escape From L.A. (1996), Idiocracy (2006) and Battle Royale (2000), the movie doesn’t really offer anything new, nor none of the visceral excitement of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).  The digital explosions and carnage look fake and cheap, but are in spirit with the original movie.  Most of the budget was spent on the cars, as it should in this kind of movie.  I was continually reminded of Tony Curtis’ The Great Race (1965), the gold standard for race movies with goofy personalized cars and quirky drivers.

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).