1/26/2017

Death Race 2050 (Review)

Title: Death Race 2050
Director: G.J. Echternkamp
Writer:  G.J. Echternkamp, Matt Yamashita
Cast: Manu Bennett, Malcolm McDowell, Marci Miller, Burt Grinstead, Folake Olowofoyeku
Year: 2017
Min: 90

 In the year, 2050 the latest Death Race, a race in which one gets extra points by running over pedestrians, is happening in a large arena. Reigning champ and cybro-gentically enhanced Frankenstein (Manu Bennett) is among the competitors. But, he has some stiff competition including the vein and genetically enhanced Jed Perfectus (Burt Grinstead) and the insane and deadly Tammy the Terrorist (the lovely Anessa Ramsey) who has her own religion/ cult that centers around her. Helping Frankenstein out is his proxy the gorgeous Annie Sullivan (Marci Miller), though from the get-go he is annoyed by her presence. The rebellion try to stop Frankenstein, because of the fact that he is loved by the spectators. Meanwhile, the evil Chairman (Malcolm McDowell), who is running the whole race, is treacherous scum. This all leads to what will be the most difficult and dangerous race of Frankenstein's career.
Death Race 2050 is the sequel (yes sequel, not remake) to the Roger Corman (who also produced this flick, of course) produced cult classic Death Race 2000. Unlike the more serious tone of the wild and ultra-violent big-budget remake from 2008 (which was also co-produced by Corman), this film is much closer in tone to the original movie. It's campy, bloody, and filled with political satire. The later, of which, is very welcome in the current political climate. It should be noted that you do not need to see the first movie to see this one, but why the hell wouldn't you see that movie? It's fucking awesome!
That being said, it is never as good as either of those two movies. I can't compare it to the two sequels the 2008 film had, though, as I never saw those. But, I digress. 2050 is wonderfully blatant in its proudly campy manner. This doesn't necessarily work all the time, as the humor, sometimes, comes off a little forced or is just not funny. However, a good amount of it does work and is really quite hilarious.
The CGI is pretty bad, but somehow it just adds to the camp factor. It helps it look and feel cheap, which in this case is a welcome. I would venture in saying that I enjoyed the bad CGI here, more than I enjoy a lot of the shitty CGI featured on movies that air on SyFy. The cars look wild and are very much in tone with the first film. The gore FX are wonderfully over-the-top. Included among the mayhem are bodies getting run-over (of course!), exploding bodies, impaling, decapitations, splattering blood, flying entrails, and more. Nothing is ever done in a serious tone or manner so there is never a morbid or mean-spirited feel to it.
Being a Corman movie you will wanna know if it succeeds in the other exploitation staple: nudity. And, I can happily say that it does! Various babes show ample T&A, but the only central character to show the goods is the quite nice ass of Anessa Ramsey in her as Tammy. That said, Marci Miller does wear a sexy, tight outfit that shows off her ample curves.
The acting is, admit ably, good. Manu Bennett, best know for Spartacus and playing Deathstroke on Arrow, seems to be having a hell of a good time playing Frankenstein. He is great at both the action scenes and playing with the humor of the movie. Malcolm McDowell is equally fun as the evil Chairman, who is an excellent and welcomed parody of now President Donald Trump, right down to the ridiculous, parted hair. Like I said this movie has great social commentary for our current state! Miller adds some bombshell sex appeal, and killer curves, with her role of Annie. She, too, is great at combing said sex appeal with humor. The rest of the cast is equally fun and good at their roles.
Death Race 2050 doesn't always work or hit all of its goals. But, when it does it is quite a good time. With its campy and silly feel, it can be quite funny at times. Throw in some wild bits of ultra-violence and some welcome babes, it succeeds in its exploitation based heart. The biting social commentary is funny and scarily fitting today's world. Despite this, much of the movie has a breezy mentality that is perfect to just lie back and chill with it. The fact that it is currently on NetFlix means there is no reason you shouldn't being see it.
2.5 out of 4

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