Running time: 116 mins (approx) - EXTENDED VERSION
Watched on DVD Monday 15th June 2009.
As a good old fashioned Action Thriller, this was most excellent. Lots of explosions, extreme car crashes, bad guys getting what they deserve and a half decent plot. On top of all that there was a pretty good soundtrack as well (or was that just the Dolby 5.1 sounding really cool?).
Having been framed for the murder of his wife, former racing driver Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) in incarcerated in Terminal Island, a notorious prison run by Warden Hennessey (Joan Allen). With no government funding, and life being cheap, the warden has invented the ‘Death Race’ in which inmates race against each other for the chance of freedom. No surprise that the vehicles are armed and the inmates desperate. The races are streamed over the Internet and, for a fee; subscribers can watch the action in all its gory detail. Ames discovers that the Warden Hennessey is responsible for the murder of his wife and one of the other drivers, Pachenko (Max Ryan) carried out the murder. Having been coerced into driving, Ames, his co-driver, Elizabeth Case (Natalie Martinez) and his race team, Coach (Ian McShane) and Lists (Frederick Koehler) set out for revenge.
There are some great comedy moments which are welcome in and amongst all the action. Great performances from Jason Statham, Ian McShane, Natalie Martinez, Tyrese Gibson (as Machine Gun Joe Mason) and Joan Allen. The special effects, plenty of explosions and machine gun fire, were excellent, in particular the sequence where ‘The Dreadnought’ gets its comeuppance! As may be predictable, the ending leaves most of the bad guys dead and the good guys…
As I said at the beginning, a good old fashioned Action Thriller. Not too taxing on the grey matter, but very entertaining.
My score: 7/10