Directed by: G.J. Echternkamp
Cast: Manu Bennett, Malcolm McDowell, Marci Miller
Roger Corman’s satirical speedster flick harkens back to… well, Roger Corman productions of old, even though technically speaking, Corman himself didn’t actually direct this reboot. While technology has grown exponentially since Corman worked his way into the business some six-plus decades ago, his films still often rely on some relatively basic gags. Somehow those gags still work, and while the film is a bit of an uneven mess, it ultimately proves to be a blast.
If you’re watching a Death Race flick, you know the deal: crazies drive, people get mowed down and rides explode in grandiose fashion. That’s the nature of the series, and all the on-the-nose statements don’t do much to steal away from the insanity of the flick. If anything, the comedic tones only help those messages hit us in the funny bones.
The acting is all serviceable, and some of the stunt work looks impressive. The special effects aren’t quite as heavy as I’d expected but they’re generally well-executed.
There’s a lack of chemistry between some of the cast members, but that’s an issue to avoid getting hung up on; not everyone loves the people they work with.
Another interesting point of the film comes in Frankenstein’s separation from his trademark mask. As things get rolling in this ultraviolent game of Car Kill, Frankenstein opts to yank the facial accessory off. He all but winks at the camera when he informs his co-pilot that it’s “just a gimmick!” We know Frank, we know.
All in all, Death Race 2050 feels like a schizophrenic ride through one giant magic mushroom… with cool-in-a-vintage kind of way vehicles. My recommendation? Load up on beer – not a six pack, not a 12 pack – but a nice cold case, and get ready to get slobber knockered while watching one legitimately bat shit crazy flick!