Death of the Critic

Why Did I Watch That? – Death Race 2

Written by: Tom Blaich

Death Race 2

I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me.
I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

I’ve written before about the folly of trying to reboot franchises that Jason Statham has starred in, and Death Race is no exception, being one of the rare double reboots. In our continuing saga to see how far off the rails one franchise can get, we look this week at Death Race 2. This time around, Luke Goss assumes the role of Frankenstein as the producers continue to try to find ways to make this lineage more complicated. After he kills a police officer during a robbery, he goes to prison, where he competes in the “Death Match”, which isn’t a race, as fighters duke it out in an arena.

For a movie called Death Race they sure take a really long time to start death racing. There are dumb romantic subplots and “intrigue” but it all falls flat on its face. I’m not here to see bad nudity. I’m here to see cars beat the shit out of each other until everyone dies, and somehow they forget about this simple request for half of the movie.

Apparently Death Race 2 and 3 serve as prequels to Death Race which are gritty, realistic versions of Death Race 2000 and 2050 (hint as to what might be coming in the future). And while characters have the same name and cars are still crashed at moderately high speeds, it feels like more of a rip-off than an actual part of the franchise. Death Race is not a good movie by far, but Death Race 2 makes it look great in comparison. It lost what little it had going for it, instead bringing you actors you don’t care about (and Sean Bean), bad effects, and worse writing.

Many franchises hit their stride with a sequel, ironing out the kinks and using their experience to make a better movie. Death Race 2 feels like a producer on a coke binge found a DVD in a 99 cent bin at a supermarket, paid a graduate student in burritos an shitty weed to write a spec script, and found some old props to make a movie. There is no heart here, nothing spectacular, just mediocrity. It would have been more entertaining if it was a worse movie.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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