Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Accident up ahead

Racing off the shelves of the L.A. Library system.

Death Race (2008)

You know how video games are becoming more like movies? Well, Death Race is a movie that feels more like a video game. That's not a compliment, BTW.

Writer/director/shithead Paul W.S. Anderson has managed to crap out yet another turdburger, this time remaking the Roger Corman classic Death Race 2000, which was slyly directed by Paul Bartel. Anderson removes all the low budget charm, inventiveness, bare boobs and satire, replacing it with loud boring car chases, endless machine gun fire and lots o' prison swearing. (He even has a Megan Fox look alike here (complete with taut exposed midriff), but NO bare bewbs, proving he is a total idiot.)

Anderson does what he does "best" which is rip off other better movies. Here he rips off The Running Man by having a televised reality show, broadcast worldwide, featuring prisoners battling each other with the winner promised their freedom. Instead of hand to hand combat Anderson replaces it with Road Warrior-like automotive mayhem. (And let me tell you, survey says Joan Allen as the baddie is NO Richard Dawson.)

The race stuff looks and feels like a video game, even to the point where the drivers have to run over certain marks in the road to activate things like shields, car-mounted guns and devices embedded along the racing course that can aid them in defeating their opponents. All that's missing is the goofy sound that usually accompanies those moments in a video game, but that would probably be drowned out by the ridiculously loud, grinding, video-game-like guitar riffs.

This movie is a fucking joke. There are a few moments that make you appreciate some of the stunt driving, but NOTHING in this movie compares to the fantastic stunt roadwork in the Mad Max movies, especially the Road Warrior. There's even a huge nod/rip off when during the second stage of this three stage race a huge tanker truck is loosed onto the track. It was obviously modelled after the tanker truck in Road Warrior, but like all of Anderson's homages he really does nothing special with it. (I think he believes just the fact that he is doing an homage/rip off is cool in and of itself, he need do nothing more with it.)

Jason Statham plays his usual Jason Statham role, meaning ho hum. His best work has been in The Italian Job and The Bank Job. Maybe if this had been titled Death Race Job he would have stepped it up an acting notch. And Jas, you GOTTA do something about the balding thing. I'm sorry but an action hero under 40, no matter how capable, CANNOT have a thinning/receding hairline. Movies are all FANTASY after all, so either get hair plugs, shave your hair off completely, or do the Shatner and Connery toupee thing. (Hey, look how well their careers went.)

Steer clear of this crap, rent the original Death Race 2000 and The Road Warrior. You will have a MUCH better driving experience.

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