In 1975, producer Roger Corman helped bring Death Race 2000 to the big screen. Audiences across the country were introduced to a the big race where points were garnered by running over pedestrians. In 2008 we go to see a movie that presented as a remake, but is described by director Paul W.S. Anderson as a prequel and plays out like a video game. In 2010, we went a little further back with a prequel to the prequel, Death Race 2. Now, in 2013 we get a sequel to the 2010 prequel. All of this makes me ask, haven’t we had enough?
Death Race 3: Inferno picks up right after the end of the previous outing. The race event owner, Weyland (Ving Rhames), is being forced to sell the race rights to Niles York (Dougray Scott), who intends to relocate the race to South Africa before starting franchises in prisons around the world.
Now, what would any Death Race be without a Frankenstein? Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) was believed to be dead at the end of the last film, but is shown to still be alive and has agreed to take on the mantle of the most popular driver there is. So, Niles scoops up Frankenstein and his crew (including Danny Trejo and Tanit Phoenix) and heads to South Africa for the first baja style Death Race.
The story is pretty basic. Frankenstein is one victory away from winning his freedom. Niles cannot afford for that to happen, so he looks to stack the deck against our hero. On the other hand, you have a host of other drivers, killers all, who are all gunning for the finish line with little regard for anyone who gets in their way.
There is not much to it. This is a straight-to-video movie that does not aim any higher than that. With this being the case, the movie has me kind of stymied when it comes to trying to write about it. Inferno is practically a cinematic non entity. I mean, it exists, but in a way that seems to defy its own existence. You either like this sort of junk or you don’t. I am pretty sure that no one really cares one way or the other.
Death Race 3: Inferno is a watchable movie. It is not a good movie by any stretch, but there is something about it that makes is very easy to watch. The pace is fast, things just keep happening, impromptu fights among the drivers, a battle royale of hot women, cars crashing into each other, bullets, rockets, fists, you name it. The story is just there to keep things moving in the right direction.
There are movies that can be described as “critic proof.” This is one of them. I watched the movie and thought that some of t looked pretty good but it made so little impact that it was like I hadn’t watched it. It is slick and fast and a decent enough way to kill a couple of hours, just don’t expect to remember much of it when it is done.
Audio/Video. The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The movie, shot on digital video using Red Epic cameras, looks good enough. It has a bright, sometimes over bright, sun burnt look that has a certain slickness to it, but not so much as to be confused with a big theatrical outing. Colors are washed out under the bright lights, detail remains solid throughout, and there are no digital issues to be concerned with.
Audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that will keep you awake and make sure you pay attention. Dialogue is always clear, which is fortunate considering how active the track is. The film explodes through all channels with screams, explosions, rockets, twisting metal, everything yo can imagine. You will want to be careful not to disturb the neighbors.
- Commentary. The track features the director Roel Reine. He talks a lot about technical aspects of the film and how they got some of the stunt cars. It is actually a pretty interesting track, if you want to sit through the move again.
- Alternate Opening. This opening is a bit more traditional than the commercial style used in the finished film. I think I like this version better.
- Deleted Scenes. Selection of clips cut to help pacing. Worth a peek.
- Deleted Shots Montage. An even briefer version of deleted scenes. Cannot as I have ever seen anything like this before. It is like a deleted music video.
- The Making of Death Race 3: Inferno. An overview of the film is provided with plenty of location footage and interview bits with a lot of the cast.
- Racing for Death. A look at the shooting of the races.
- Art Imitating Life: Goldberg. This takes a look at Danny Trejo’s character and his real life experiences. Would love to meet him.
Bottomline. Is it worth seeing? Perhaps on a lazy night when you thirst for some dumb action. It is not one you will likely feel the need to revisit, but it provides enough of a diversion for a couple of hours. In the end, you would probably be better served by revisiting Anderson’s film, or better yet, the original 1975 film. So, to answer the question of if we have had enough, I suspect we probably have, or at least I have.