Death Race: Inferno (2012)
Sadly, I’ve STILL never seen Death Race 2000. It’s just one of the many movies I keep meaning to catch at some point that has somehow evaded me thus far. Yet I have seen the revamped, loose remake. I have seen the prequel to that remake. And now I have seen the sequel to that prequel (it takes place after the events of the second movie, but still portrays events that occurred before the first film).
Director Roel Reine stays in the director’s chair and he’s once again working with a script by Tony Giglio (developed from a story by the writer and Paul W. S. Anderson). A lot of the cast from the second movie also return so fans of that movie at least know exactly what they’re in for.
Luke Goss is imprisoned racer Carl Lucas, Danny Trejo, Fred Koehler and Tanit Phoenix are still in his crew and Ving Rhames appears briefly while the reins are handed over to Dougray Scott (AKA the guy to call when you can’t afford Gerard Butler), who plays the main corporate villain of the piece. Cars race against each other, also firing weapons when they can, and people you don’t care about fight other people you don’t care about en route to a surprisingly decent final ten minutes.
To say any more about the plot of Death Race: Inferno would be a waste of time. Hey, I don’t want to be rude about the movie – it does what it sets out to do – but it’s not one to analyse for subtext and nuanced construction. It is, as were the two movies before it, perfect entertainment to watch with pizza and beers.
Remember the days when you used to look forward to movies that starred Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo? Well, those are long gone. The two men seem determined to fill up their filmography with low quality STD fare (the acronym I like to use, it means Straight To Disc). This is far from the worst thing that they’ve put their names to, but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. Luke Goss does fine, as does Fred Koehler and the mightily attractive Tanit Phoenix, despite the fact that both of those actors call Luke Goss “Luke” at one point instead of his character name. I think that the director tries to cover this up later by having another character calling Goss “Mr. Lucas”, but yeah, it’s a mistake symptomatic of the carelessness with which the movie seems to have been slapped together.
Bit of metal race against each other, choppy editing ensures that even if the continuity is perfect from moment to moment (which it isn’t) you’d have a hard job to notice, weapons fire and often just look like what they are – badly disguised pyrotechnic effects – and everything looks like it could have been given just a little bit more care and attention.
Having said all that, we come back to the fact that it does exactly what it sets out to do. It’s mindless entertainment, below average stuff with an ending that pulls it back up and bookends an okay trilogy that I’m sure many people will pick up when/if the box set is cheap enough.
DIRECTOR: ROEL REINE
WRITER: TONY GIGLIO
STARS: LUKE GOSS, VING RHAMES, DANNY TREJO, DOUGRAY SCOTT, FRED KOEHLER, TANIT PHOENIX, ROBIN SHOU, HLUBI MBOYA, ROXANE HAYWARD, BART FOUCHE, JEREMY CRUTCHLEY
RUNTIME: 105 MINS APPROX