This was never going to be a great, deep, emotional piece of art, was it? Come on, this was always going to be about armoured cars, explosions and machismo. That, my friends, is exactly what you get with the remake of Death Race 2000, and you get it with all the bells and whistles you could crave. The action scenes, and indeed the sections of the movie intended as clips from the televised 'Death Race' events, look like they have come straight out of a video game, and that seems to be who the film is aimed squarely at- fans of ultra violent video games. As a statement against violent culture it fails completely (that was never the intention though), but as a high octane piece of entertainment, it hits the spot right between the eyes.
If you ever saw the original, Stallone-starring Death Race 2000 bit of low budget fluff, you'll recognize the ingredients that made that flick fun to watch, but this is by no means a literal remake- this is Death Race suped-up to the maximum and then used as a weapon to beat people's eyes with. Jason Statham plays his usual Man-With-A-Chisel-For-A-Face routine, which he does remarkably well. I say he should be the new Judge Dredd. The flimsiest of plots sees him take on the mantle of Frankenstein, a masked participant in the lethal Death Race matches, so that he may be released from the prison that stages them (he was framed for the murder of his wife), and the stage is set for cars covered in armour and machine guns to race around a track and blow each other to pieces for many, many scenes.
You know what? I loved it. The film seems to live on adrenaline alone, and pretty much every edit is cut so that each shot smacks you in the face. There are some truly spectacular action scenes, and the film doesn't hang around getting to these explosive sequences. The cast do a great job with what is essentially a terrible script (Ian McShane is great as 'Coach'), but this isn't a film to be looked too deeply into. At the end of the day it is a flick where you want to see stuff blow up, and in that sense it is an excellent thrill ride that delivers serious value for money in the action department. The stunts performed onscreen are nothing short of incredible, and the integration of practical effects, stunts, CG and live action is really rather impressive. When you get to see the Dreadnought there's a little pang of 'That should look cooler after the build-up they gave it', but this is a small niggle with what is a pretty damn fun piece of action cinema. Turn your brain off, buckle up and enjoy every bloody, noisy, violent, exciting moment.