In the future year 2000 entertainment has changed. The government sponsors brutal entertainment like the Transcontinental Road Race in which rival teams race across the U.S. scoring points by running down pedestrians. This year the legendary Frankenstein takes on “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo and others in his bid for fame.
David Carradine (Frankenstein), Simone Griffeth (Annie), Sylvester Stallone (Joe Viterbo), Mary Woronov (Calamity Jane), Roberta Collins (Matilda the Hun), Martin Kove (Nero the Hero), Louisa Moritz (Myra), Don Steele (Junior Bruce).
Death Race 2000 doesn’t waste a lot of time getting to the point. Character background and plot setup are minimal with the film instead moving quickly to the main plot. As the unique cast of racers is assembled and starts the race we quickly find there are other groups interested in stopping the race. From there the thrill of a ridiculous race is merged with terror plots and bombs for an even bumpier ride than expected. With a somewhat campy ending there isn’t much to the finish in this one but the ride still has some value.
Acting was a mess with most everyone overacting but then, that is part of what this film was all about. Carradine isn’t nearly as funny or entertaining as he thinks. Stallone also took himself a bit seriously in this one but can be forgiven a bit because of his young age. The remainder of the supporting cast was obviously a bit green and rough around the edges.
Camera work, sets, and backgrounds are classic 1970’s futurama feel with overdone cars and costumes. Backgrounds were mostly natural and fairly plain. Effects were physical, car stunts, and explosions and were fairly well done. Dialogue was campy, but not quite campy enough to make the film silly. Sound and soundtrack were pretty good.
Overall Death Race 2000 is a decent action adventure that was obviously aiming for high value entertainment with some comedy and missed the mark landing solidly in the mediocre category. Those who enjoy older films will find the most pleasure with this one while others may find it too bland.
With mild adult themes and activity, mild foul language, violence, mild sexuality and nudity, this should be fine for older teens and above.
Death Race 2000 is no longer showing in any Littleton Colorado movie theatres.
Star rating: 3 out of 5
copyright ©2011 Dave Riedel
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