Death Race 2 DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 3.0
Video 7.0
Audio 6.5
Special Features 5.0
Total 3.5
Distributor: Universal
Running Time: 96
Classification:
 MA15+
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs

3.5


Death Race 2

Death Race 2, directed by Roel Reine and with a story by Paul WS Anderson, is a prequel to the original film from 2008.

In the 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.

Belting 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.

When Carl 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.

The 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.

The movie 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 scattered throughout.

This prequel is an attempt to inject some kind of story into the franchise, by explaining how Frankenstein, and Death Race itself, came to be.

The first 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.

When the 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.

This movie 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. 

Special Features: 

The first 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. 






 
 



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