Death Race was released in 2008 and was the latest high action movie to star Jason Statham. The film was based on the 1975 film Death Race, although it wasn’t a straight remake as there were clear differences between the two. So was this movie any good?
Well let me describe the movie first of all. The setting is 2012 and the American economy has completely gone into meltdown (not as far-fetched as it sounds given recent events). Money is tight and the prisons are heaving as many people turn to crime as a way of making ends meet.
Jason Statham’s character Jensen Ames has just come out of prison himself and is starting to manage fairly well. He has a wife called Suzy and a baby girl to look after. However things take a turn for the worse as he arrives home to find his wife brutally murdered. Worse still Jensen is actually framed for this murder and is therefore sent back to prison.
The prison he arrives at is a high security one run by a female warden (played by Joan Allen). This warden runs a tight ship and actually uses the prisoners for financial gain. She allows the prisoners to take part in a fearsome race (which is broadcast live on TV) around the prison grounds in order to try and win the ultimate prize which is their release from captivity.
If they win five races they are allowed to leave the prison. Anyway four of the races have been won by a masked driver called ‘Frankenstein’ and as events unfold Ames is allowed to assume the identity of this driver in the final race. He reluctantly accepts and the movie then kicks into gear.
From then on there are some fantastic action sequences as we see the various prisoners doing whatever they can to destroy each other and win the ultimate prize. The movie was very well shot and the computerized graphics are top notch. Even the sound effects are impressive.
Of course there’s not much of a plot or indeed a meaningful storyline, but it’s still a fairly enjoyable movie. Jason Statham is on top form as the lead character and there is also an excellent part played by Ian McShane as well. The ending will not disappoint either so overall if you’re a fan of action movies, I would say that Death Race, although not one of the all-time classics, is still worth watching.