Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guilty Pleasure Cinema -Death Race 2000

For sheer camp cheese and exploitation there is no greater guilty pleasure than Death Race 2000. The remake from last year staring Jason Statham only reminded me what a wicked satire this was when it first came out in 1975. Its the story of a transamerican auto race of the future where the contestants drive their specially designed death mobiles and gain points by killing anyone they can run over along the way. More of an indictment on America's media culture and love of violence it has really stood the test of time. I remember it as one of the first movies I rented when videos first came out. Starring David Carradine at the height of his KUNG FU fame and Slyvester Stallone the year before ROCKY made him a huge star, it was a drive-in movie success. Made by producer Roger Corman (famous for his high quality low budget productions) it actually is the model for all those schlocky b-movies made in the direct to video age and is more violent that it has the right to be for the time period. I always loved the scene where Frankenstein takes out the hospital staff instead of the old people they layed out for him to hit for points. The cars also have a great look and are impressively cartoony. Remember..."It was the FRENCH that tried to sabotage the race." Just like we always suspected the future ills of the world are all caused by the French.

"As clever as parts of it are, however, the characters and the action are what will keep you coming back to this one. Though the movie was made on a very low budget there are some really great car designs in here and plenty of high-octane stunt driving to keep you on the edge of your seat. The colorful cast of racers make things a lot of fun, almost like a really cruel version of Wacky Racers albeit without a snickering dog anywhere to be seen."

-DVD Talk

1 comment:

Keith said...

When I saw the remake, it reminded me how cool I found this film. I love it a lot. It was one of the first movies I saw when we got our first VCR. It's definitely a classic of the 70's.