BLU-RAY REVIEW: Death Race 2 - Unrated
Straight-to-video unrated weaponized car extravaganza delivers...
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Back in August 2008, Paul W.S. Anderson's Death Race hit the box office. Starring Jason Statham, the film was an inventive, action-packed re-imagining of the original 1975 David Carradine and Sly Stallone cult favorite Death Race 2000. Now, fans who enjoyed Anderson's update can pick up the prequel, Death Race 2, on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
Exploring the origins of the Death Race itself as well as the race's main character and star, Frankenstein, Death Race 2 stars Luke Goss (Hellboy 2), Ving Rhames (Mission: Impossible), Sean Bean, and Danny Trejo, is directed by Dutch filmmaker Roel Reiné, and is written by Tony Giglio and Paul W. S. Anderson.
Carl Lucas (Goss), a life-long criminal loyal to crime boss Markus Kane (Bean), gets caught red handed and is sentenced to life in prison at the privately run prison Terminal Island, where the Weyland International corporation runs Death Match, "pay per view" series which pits inmates against one another. Lucas soon learns his life is in danger both in and out of the tournament and must compete to survive.
Featuring fan favorites like Ving Rhames as Weyland, the president of the corporation; Sean Bean as Markus Kane, the crime boss whose criminal empire is almost as big as his ego; and Danny Trejo as Goldberg, an inmate who becomes the head of Lucas' pit crew, Death Race 2 sports a solid cast of supporting actors. Likewise, Goss is great as Lucas, the ice cold criminal with a slow, smoldering hatred boiling just below the surface. Lucas makes for a bad guy with good intention whose destiny lies on the Death Race track.
The hi-def 1080p video transfer in 1.78:1 aspect ratio is bright, colorful, and tight. Likewise, the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track ensures you'll hear plenty of engines roaring and bullets impacting.
As far as special features go, Death Race 2 includes a good number which will please fans of the series. Besides a feature commentary with director Roel Reiné, the disc also includes deleted scenes, a director's montage, and a number of featurettes, including "The Race Begins: The Evolution of Death Race," "Cheating Death: The Stunts of Death Race 2," and "Fast Cars and Firearms: The Cars of Death Race 2." Each featurette gives plenty of behind-the-scenes info on the film's plot, the stunts, the cast, the directing, and the cars - which are truly the star of the film.
Considering this is a straight-to-video release, Death Race 2 is an exceptionally entertaining film with great special effects, solid acting, and a good amount of bonus material. As I said in my original review of the 2008 Death Race, I can't help but love this stuff. Cars with machine guns, missile launchers, and armored bodies make for some very exciting and entertaining cinema. Fans of the 2008 Death Race won't want to miss Death Race 2, available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley