I love me some Death Race.
I have yet to see the Death Race 2050 could have gone 2 ways, either ignore the original 1975 classic and simply update it for the internet age, or tried to do a new sequel where Frankenstein killing of Mr President brought in someone worse- kind of like impeaching Trump would only push Pence into power.
Death Race 2050 does the former, but has way too many 40-year old fingerprints to really be a new idea. This could have, and should have been so much better.
We do get a bit of a throwback to the original, but this time instead of the cars being odd looking, and the personalities of the drivers being a bit on the outside but fun, the drivers are so WAY out of left field you wonder how they could function in society. The original riders were caricatures to be sure, but no more than some athletes or at worse, pro-wrestlers. Jed Perfectus doesn’t seem like he could survive sitting his car at a red light, much less at a sponsor’s dinner. Sly Stallone and Matilda the Hun from 1975 were outrageous, but you could see having fun with them, you could do 20 minutes on either of them, in this movie- the third time you see rapper Minerva Jefferson, she’s tired and you are just waiting for her to die. Even Frankenstein gets boring after a time, and this is coming from a guy who was excited to see Crixus outside of Spartacus.
The world around the Death Race doesn’t help matters, we have these one-note drivers, and then the same thing we got last time, rebels trying to kill Frankenstein, and this gets monotonous, the announcers could be fun, but get overused, and the new stuff- such as the virtual reality options barely scratch the surface of what they could have become under a better script.
Bottom Line, Death Race 2050 feels like a quick cash-in from a cable franchise doing everything as cheaply as possible, and just throwing in blood and boobs as often as possible. In a Roger Corman movie, that’s not exactly abnormal, but Corman has done this so much better. The only one having any kind of fun is Malcom McDowell as the President, but this guy would have fun playing a tree in a fourth-grade play.
I feel like this should have been a series. Give us one episode on each racer, then have the race be the last 5 episodes. Or even do it like Orange is the New Black where they stop the storyline to show the backstory of one of the racers. it seems like we get our three racers the story cares about, and 80% of the movie is about them, and other than Frankenstein, they are both one note and THIN as hell. I’m going a 3 here. Watch the original, and hope this embarrasses Corman enough to do it again the right way.
Tiny URL for this post: