Friday, April 21, 2017

Death Race 2050 (2017)

Directed by: G.J. Echternkamp
Run time: 90 minutes

Let's address the bloody and beaten elephant in the room. It's a remake. Or a reboot, or any other R word that Hollywood uses as justification for remaking movies instead of making something new and different. Much like 1975 Death Race it has the same cars that would not survive running over a twig let alone a person, the same weird and colourful drivers, and a similar plot. Unlike the original, the satire is dark and dialed up to twelve. It also funny as hell.

The year is 2050. Junk food is combined with anti-depression medication. Winter is a myth that no one wants to talk about. Also the abundance of automation has driven unemployment to 99.9% and the only thing to do is watch the Death Race. The gimmick to the race this year the race is virtual reality transmission that allows one to see, feel, and smell like you are in the race.

The first racer introduced is Tammy the Terrorist. Creator and leader of her own cult that is based on the worst aspects of religion and American popular culture. She also uses her cultist as quick and easy way to rack up kills. Next is Minerva Jefferson. She has a best selling sex tape, numerous gold records and is in the Death Race to promote her new single "Drive, Drive, Kill, Kill". Next driver is Jed Prefectus. A genetically engineered human who's narcissistic, insecure, and extremely confused about his sexual identity. The next car and driver is ABE. An artificial intelligence with all the bugs and problems of a triple A video game on release. And finally the man and 60% cyborg, it's Frankenstein. A complex man who feels his only talents are wining the death race and rescuing stray dogs and cats.

The goal of the race is to get from Nuevo York to New Los Angeles as quickly as possible while killing as many people as possible. While speeding and killing the racers pass through charmingly renamed states like Eastern Fallout Zone (New Jersey), The Appalachian Desert (Kentucky), Walmatique (Arkansas), and Kirkland Tenements (Tennessee). All while people either inveterately die due to bad luck or throwing themselves in the path of the race for a second of fame and the chance to be run over by their hero.

This is a movie that should not exist. There's good looking practical effects on a budget, random female nudity, and irreverent black humor make this feel like a refugee movie from the 1970's. Not something expected from a movie made in 2017. It's not a work of great cinema but it's funny and entertaining as hell. It is a solid rental or streaming movie for fans of 70's movies and fans of Roger Corman's produced movies.

MVT: The scene were Annie Sullivan (Frankenstein's navigator) and Minerva Jefferson having character building scene in the Bechdel bar. While in another room Frankenstein and Jed are having a vicious fight.

Make or Break: The dark and irreverent humour of the writing made the two viewings of this movie for me. My manic laughing at the movie made people around me to ensure that 911 was set to speed dial.

Score: 6.1 out of 10

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