89 min. Rated R

Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson

(Resident Evil, Mortal Combat, & Event Horizon)

Dear Genie... for my first wish, I'd like to have back the 89 minutes I spent last night watching this movie. Can I do that? Please!? Ok, if I can't have the time back, than can you erase it from my memory? No? Crap.

Based on the trippy, sadistically entertaining original, Death Race 2000 (1975), this film is about convicts trying to kill each other while racing in their tricked out vehicles all at the behest of a corporation, which now controls prisons so they can profit from them. We meet our hero, a former race car driver, now working at a metal plant, which for no reason closes down bringing a swat team in to force a riot. Of course, he gets framed for the murder of his wife, and is conveniently sent to the prison where Death Race occurs. Its warden, Joan Allen, who for some reason forgot to show up and act, is a deranged ratings lover bent on making money by keeping these races on the air. Our hero gets forced to race... but this time... it's personal!

This movie is so bad I couldn't help but laugh throughout. Ian McShane, the fabulous actor from HBO's Deadwood, plays Coach, (that's what they call him... of course) the aged inmate who knows everything about everything, and has the 2 nice guy inmate flunkies helping him out. Coach got offered parole 3 years earlier, but he turned it down... see, he's "institutionalized" now, so he prefers to stay in this hell hole of a jail barely dodging death while watching the races from the pit. Joan Allen didn't do anything to make matters better. Watching her play a twisted warden was like watching a robot pretending to be Joan Allen.

The racing scenes are ALL THE SAME. We get treated to the end of one before the opening credits, and the action you see there is more or less exactly the same as the action that occurs in all three stages of the main race. Lots of shots of Jason Statham looking pissed and steering, his feet slamming the pedal, and his hand shifting gears, while bullets fly through the air and one car smashes into another. It's wretched.

You want a treat, see the original. It's not for everyone, sure. It's dated. Sly Stallone plays a bad guy. Sort of a cross between A Clockwork Orange and Grindhouse. I never thought I'd say this, but Death Race makes Running Man (with Schwarzenegger) look like an Oscar movie.

Ok, Genie, if you won't grant me my first wish of giving me back the time I wasted seeing this crap, will you at least put Hollywood on notice, and help them make better action movies than this? It won't be hard. This was one of the worst movies of the year.

D-

Death Race Stars:

Jason Statham, Ian McShane, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson, Natalie Martinez, & Max Ryan

If you enjoyed RUNNING MAN (1987) ... 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003) ... THE PUNISHER (2004)... HARD TO KILL (1990) ...you MIGHT like Death Race.