A nearly ancient but still relevant Roger Corman is finally back with an official continuation/sequel/soft reboot (not really sure what it is) to his futuristic science fiction classic, Death Race 2000.
Barring the Jason Statham starring remake and the numerous dreadful continuations that followed, this is a return to form with the violence, over the top gore, comedic perversity, and the satirical edge of Corman's goofball imagination. Cut from the exact same cloth as the 1975 movie, this new dystopian action flick captures many of the same themes and expands on them wholeheartedly. This is The Hunger Games meets Idiocracy meets a comedic Mad Max with a steaming pile of snark thrown on top for good measure. If you liked the original you will most likely enjoy this too. If you don't, well you may not know what absolute escapism is.
Death Race 2050 smashes humans at a breakneck pace while it spins a fiery web of political jargon that's still current to this very day. Starring a who's who cast of low budget actors that's slightly redeemed by a Malcolm McDowell appearance as the Chairman, this new race of death uses practical vehicle designs, bad costumes, and dark humor that embodied the originator. Unlike the remake series, Corman's vision isn't really centered on great action but is one of absurdism that's still handing out points for running over dumb citizens that get in the way. Lives are dispatched at random. Heads roll. No one is safe. And it's all schlocky, tongue in cheek fun that's more about silliness than anything else.
|My finger. Pull it.|
Just like in '75, Corman is only here as a producer but his hand is felt all over this project. Death Race 2050 echoes his sense of humor from front to back. At 90 years old, Corman still has the good natured creative touch that's always made his movies such a joy to watch. This latest journey into the future isn't high art and will definitely be marred by word of mouth because it doesn't align with most people's expectations of a 'Death Race' movie. There will be confusion because of the name. This project serves as a blatant tribute that further proves that awful film making can also be enjoyable. Director G.J. Echternkamp does a bang up job recreating the zaniness of Death Race 2000 in a 90 minute package that will definitely entice B-movie aficionados.
If you're going to watch this, know what you're getting. Don't expect super smart and don't think you're getting another direct to video sequel to the modern franchise. This is directly linked to the Paul Bartel directed feature from the '70s. 2050 looks, sounds, and behaves in many of the same ways. It's sheer madness for people that enjoy boobs, exploitation, and car on human violence.
Rev your engines. The Death Race is back.