Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 7 Flaming Cars
The origins of Death Race and Frankenstein, the infamous car driver who was killed in the first movie.
Okay. First off, why is it Death Race 2 when this film is obviously a prequel? The first half of the movie doesn’t even have the car carnage, it’s just cons in the prison whomping on each-other. So, on to the sadness of a movie itself.
Corporations have taken over the country and the prisons are overcrowded so we have executions in the form of live gladiatorial combat; fine right? But that’s not Death Race! Carl Lucas, acted by Luke Goss of Hellboy II fame, stars as our Protag who eventually becomes Frankenstein. Of course he’s a former race-car driver who was set up for murder and sent to prison only to be exploited when his “talents” are noticed by the wardens. We have Ving Rhames as Weyland, the order barking corporation mogul who pulls the strings of September Jones, coordinator for Death Race, played by Lauren Cohan. And we have Sean Bean as Markus Kane, crime boss who has Luke sent to prison in the first place for failing to carry out orders. Hell, we even have Robin Shou of Mortal Kombat notoriety as one of the convict drivers, 14K; even that isn’t enough to save this movie. Not as good as the first one, DR2 seems to be trying desperately to ride on the exhaust of the first movie. We have Lists from the first movie, he was actually my favorite character from the first movie – the awkward white guy savant who inevitably joins the pit crew of Luke when the prison starts that, along with Danny Trejo of Machete fame.
In all honesty, it’s probably better that the film was put out as direct to DVD rather than being shown in theaters. It’s not bad per se; the races are cool and there’s plenty of fair action scenes. But the first Death Race, the 2008 remake that is, makes this film look like the poor cousin who’s trying to accomplish what’s already been done quite well, thank you. Just don’t watch the remake and then this film right after it, that will piss you off. As a stand-alone, it actually works okay. Try it. Death Race 2 gets a rating of 7 flaming cars.