Death Race 2
2, directed by Roel Reine and with a story by Paul WS Anderson, is a
prequel to the original film from 2008.
near future the United States penal system has been privatised and
turned into a money-making venture. As a way to raise extra funds, the
controlling Weyland corporation harnesses the unruly nature of dangerous
criminals by pitting them against one another in gladiatorial style
battles, watched by millions around the world. But when audiences become
bored with this formula, it is decided to add another, more exciting
factor to this mix of blood and heavy weaponry: car racing.
around a track constructed on Weyland’s terminal island facility,
inmates must either race to the finish or kill their competitiors, using
video game style powerups to access guns and defensive countermeasures.
Lucas (Luke Goss) fouls up a getaway job given to him by gangster Marcus
Kane (Sean Bean) he is convicted and sent to this island prison. His
fighting and driving talents are quickly noticed by the sadistic host of
the ‘Death Match’ events, September Jones (Lauren Cohan), and he is
forced to compete against the other brutal inmates.
original Death Race was built on a simple premise: cars with machine
guns, driven by violent and depraved convicts. The sheer jaw-dropping
ridiculousness- and the highly stylised racing scenes- were what carried
that movie. It made you shake your head but smile at the same time.
plodded whenever the action was taken away from the track and it had to
rely on the strength of its story; dumb one-liners and cliches were
prequel is an attempt to inject some kind of story into the franchise,
by explaining how Frankenstein, and Death Race itself, came to be.
half of the movie drags terribly, and is mainly concerned with the
aforementioned gladiator battles, the ‘Death matches,’ and the power
struggles between September Jones and the head of Weyland corporation,
played by Ving Rhames. It all seems like filler while we’re waiting for
the visceral thrill of the racing itself. The Death Matches are examples
of dull, repetitive violence, and the interchanges between the lead
characters are totally bland. Ving Rhames and Sean Bean both own the
camera when they are in front of it, amazing considering how little they
have been given to work with, but once they are off-screen things
quickly degenerate into a snore-fest. Tedious sequences of dialogue
crawl past, delivered without any wit or verve.
racing finally does commence, deep into the film’s running time, it
comes as a huge disappointment. Gone are the spectacular and creative
driving scenes that made Death Race entertaining. In their place we have
a handful of highly contrived stunts, and a slew of quick-cuts between
racial stereotypes, hurling abuse from their armoured cockpits.
commits a cardinal sin: it takes the cool (admittedly boyish) concept of
cars with machine guns and makes it boring. The fun factor of the
original has been lobotomised, leaving a film as hollow and lifeless as
the charred wrecks that litter its scenes.
featurette, ’The evolution of death race,’ explains the motive behind
the creation of this film and its place in the timeline. Along with the
feature on stunts, it is basically a chance for the cast and crew to pat
each other on the back for a job well done. ‘Cars and firearms’ takes us
on a tour of the heavily modified vehicles, which are all fantastically
detailed and charismatic.
As well as
these, you have the fairly standard montage of deleted scenes and
commentary from director Roel Reine.