Death Race

2008

Death Race

Critics Consensus

Mindless, violent, and lightning-paced, Death Race is little more than an empty action romp.

42%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 157

61%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 207,624
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Movie Info

The Transporter star Jason Statham takes the wheel in director Paul W.S. Anderson's remake of the Roger Corman classic about a hyper-violent cross-country race that breaks all of the traditional rules of the road. The time is the not-so-distant future, and as America's prisons begin overflowing with violent criminals, the powers that be devise a grisly game that will free up space in the cells and entertain the masses at the same time. Jensen Ames (Statham) is a three-time speedway champion with a dark past. A survival expert and ex-con whose sordid history comes back to haunt him when he is framed for a murder he didn't commit, Ames is forced to choose between donning the metallic mask of a mythical racer known as Frankenstein or languishing away on Terminal Island -- America's most notorious penitentiary. Over the course of the next three days, this unlikely champion will get behind the wheel of a nightmare machine outfitted with machine guns, grenade launchers, and flamethrowers in a desperate attempt to outrun some of the most violent criminals ever imprisoned. Should Ames be the first to cross the checkered flag, he will win his freedom; should he come in second, however, death would be preferable to a grim future in a cramped concrete cell. Co-stars include Joan Allen, Ian McShane, Natalie Martinez, and Tyrese Gibson, who takes over the role of Machine Gun Joe, made famous by Sylvester Stallone in the original. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Death Race

All Critics (157) | Top Critics (33)

  • A must-see for petrolheads and cineastes alike.

    Nov 7, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Once out of the starting grid, the film proceeds to edit the action so dementedly that one struggles to work out whose car just exploded, who flipped over and who's driving the one with the missile-launcher on the roof.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Xan Brooks

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • This sci-fi fantasy about crazy Mad Max races in a high security prison is 8,000 horsepower of pure auto-erotic carnage.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 25, 2008 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • a balls-to-the-wall tank-ful of amiable idiocy, fast-paced enough to keep anyone's eye on the road.

    Sep 1, 2008
  • 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?

    Aug 22, 2008 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Death Race

  • Feb 26, 2015
    A massive departure from the original, Death Race keeps the cars and kills and forgoes virtually everything else from 2000. Fun in a very different manner, but still fun, and that's what counts.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2013
    Gratuitous and violent, Death Race is an exciting and explosive action film from Paul W.S. Anderson. The story follows a wrongfully convicted man named Jensen Ames who's recruited to participate in a penal gladiator completion known as the Death Race, in which he can win his freedom. Starring Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane, and Joan Allen, the casting is pretty solid. But this film is all about the car chases and explosion, and it delivers in spades. Anderson does an excellent job at creating intense and thrilling action sequences that engage the audience. As exploitation films go, Death Race is incredibly riveting and adrenaline packed.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 12, 2013
    The Death Race remake is one of the most mindless action yarns that doesn't rely on a great plot to deliver something worthwhile for viewers who enjoy these types of films. Having seen the original, I enjoyed Roger Corman's original production much better than this one, and I felt that this one simply didn't have that special something to really make it stand out. For me anyways, this was a mediocre film that just relied more on the action than anything, while the original, was a fun movie with a pretty good plot and fun action, this one just has a sloppy written script and acts more on visuals than anything. I simply felt that it cheapened the enjoyment of the film. If the movie had a slightly better script, this film would have been better. Death Race leaves a lot to be desired in terms of a mindless action film. For me, the original will always be better, and though it had some impressive carnage on-screen, there was just too many elements lacking from the film's plot to really make a memorable ride from start to finish. The action was there, but the plot was a little thin for my liking and for me, this one disappointed me because I really wanted to enjoy this film; however in the end, despite all the action, it was a little flat. Although far from the worst film, I've seen, Death Race is still a mediocre disappointment that could have been much better than what it turned out to be. I usually love a good mindless action film, but with this one, it simply didn't do it for me, but to viewers looking for intense carnage with cars, they should check it out. I simply felt that that the film's potential wasn't fully realized on-screen.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2012
    Don't bother sitting down to see "Death Race" if you like a movie with a solid plot, but if you want to see pretty much endless action then it's alright. Nothing more than average overall.
    Tom R Super Reviewer

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