Death of the Critic

Why Did I Watch That? – Death Race

Written by: Tom Blaich


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.

Jason Statham is one of those actors whose judgement that you have to questions sometimes. His taste in movies tends to run towards whatever allows him to look the coolest while also punching and kicking as many people as possible during the limited runtime of the film. Which is sort of surprising given his roles like that in
Snatch, which was excellent. Many of his more contemporary films, however, are not so great.

Putting him behind the wheel of a gritty
Death Race reboot is questionable to say the least, but so was the very creation of the movie, so who am I to say. They eliminated the satire and social commentary in favor of more butts and explosions, which kind of loses the point of the original, which was against the glorification of violence.

When you talk about a cookie cutter action movie, this is the kind of film that you should think of, as it really has nothing to
say. Statham is forced to participate in a deadly race, driving a car covered in guns in a prison full of people (which is a ridiculous idea), just because, and then people are somehow surprised when this goes awry. But in reality, the story is a flimsy excuse for “visceral” car on car violence, and if you look at it that way, it serves its purpose.

It isn’t bad in the same way that some of the films in this series are, but it is forgettable in a rather generic way. Character motivations don’t matter. Backstories don’t matter. Plot doesn’t matter. It is all about the shred of style that they have come up with, and how they can wring as many explosions out of it as possible.

Yet I can’t say that I’m disappointed, because that would require me to actually feel something about this movie other than apathy. What really shocks me is not that they greenlit this movie, which is surprising enough in and of itself, but that they greenlit more of them, and they only get worse form here.



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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