It's brainless fun, but while Anderson's brilliant staging of the flesh-ripping stunts surpasses Bartel's cheap thrills, this update lacks the sardonic wit and satirical bite of the Corman-produced version.
Let Death Race serve as a warning, or maybe an inspiration, to any TV producer who says she'd kill for high ratings: Why not stage a pay-per-view car race in which prisoners compete to stay alive on the course?
Thanks to its character interplay, the movie doesn't drag despite taking a good 40 minutes to really rev its engines. And the racing that ensues is as loud, fast, hyper-edited, and pulverizingly destructive as the gladiatorially minded would hope.
No fancy talk here, just solid, monosyllabic obscenities; no flights of digital fancy, just souped-up monster cars flipping end over end in a napalm blaze and crashing in a crunch of flaming metal ouch.