Monday, 20 March 2017
Full review on Starburst.
And my interview with director G. J. Echternkamp is published in Starburst Magazine 435, in stores now!
The premise is basically the same as the original – in a post-apocalyptic America, the most popular sport is the annual Death Race, in which five drivers zoom across America, earning points for killing civilians along the way.
Being a low-budget affair, this isn’t the slickest looking car movie you’ll have seen, but it’s nevertheless entertainingly brutal, with the racing scenes coming fast and heavy and the gore reminding us what we love about the cheap and nasty exploitation movies of the ‘70s.
Script-wise, the humour is the real appeal. Here there’s a difference in tone between the 1975 and 2000 films – whereas the original went full-on Wacky Races, Death Race 2050 is more satirical, as ridiculous and overblown as that satire is. It’s got a broad range of targets, from radical Christianity to AI technology to reality TV.
But the most striking satirical target is not any of the racers but the film’s take on America itself, now a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by – be warned, this is where it may feel a little close to the bone right now – Malcolm McDowell’s silly-haired and egotistic Chairman of the United Corporations of America.
That’s right, Death Race 2050 is the anti-Trump satire we all need. Sure, the budget shows, but what shows even more is this film’s angry, anarchistic spirit.
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