Thursday, March 11, 2010

Death Race. D+

If someone were to recommend 'Death Race' it would be because of the entertainment factor. But for me 'Death Race' can't even receive a pass as easy entertainment. The movie sells itself with the death race sequences, but to me they were actually boring. There was so much quick editing and so much of the same thing over and over again that it just became rather pathetic. The movie didn't offend me like it did some, but it definitely struck me as one of those films that shouldn't have been made. Jason Statham, who I guess is the perfect choice for this, stars as Jensen Ames, a man wrongly accused of his wife's murder. He's sent to prison where the warden, played by Joan Allen, informs him of the death race. It's like a normal car race, only you gotta protect your car with armor and shields and supply it with weapons so you can kill your opponent. Now, accepting that this was going to be an over-the-top, bloody ride, I thought to myself: this might be kind of fun. I was wrong. The first race is pretty cool, but after that it got pretty old. It was almost like watching replays of the races. They're mostly identical with the only real noticeable difference is that different characters are killed during each one. That's why it's best when a movie has one really good car chase instead of three or four. You can only go so far with them, even when it's fair to kill the opposition. So what's the death race for? For Jensen it means he can go free if he wins enough races. For the warden, it means money. The races are filmed and streamed live online for anyone to see. Only there's a very pricy fee if you want to subscribe to the race. In the movie, millions are doing it. So I thought to myself, are there really that many people who want to engage in such inane brutality? To its credit the races are pretty impressive considering how many shots were necessary. But it's all overshadowed by the film's other mistakes. Here's a big one: Joan Allen. I understand when an actress needs to pickup a paycheck, but wouldn't a simple rom-com be a better choice? Even if Allen wanted to try something different, she's still absolutely awful in this. She also utters one line at the end of the movie that ranks among the all time worst movie quotes. Probably a little too profane to mention here, though. In the end 'Death Race' is a big disaster. The idea is a sickly clever one, ut the execution of it is a whole other matter that the movie just didn't seem to care about.

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