Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.
This is another story of the secret Coast to Coast auto race across America The only rule is, the first to finish is the winner. Naturally, anyone driving 55 isn't going to win. They'll ... See full summary »
Convicted cop-killer Carl Lucas, aka Frankenstein, is a superstar driver in the brutal prison yard demolition derby known as Death Race. Only one victory away from winning freedom for himself and his pit crew.
The story of the rise and fall of the infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone and the control he exhibited over the city during the prohibition years. Unusually, briefly covering the years ... See full summary »
Three Italian-American brothers, living in the slums of 1940's New York, try to help each other with one's wrestling career using one brother's promotional skills and another brother's con-artist tactics to thwart a sleazy manager.
Johnny Kovak joins the Teamsters trade-union in a local chapter in the 1930s and works his way up in the organization. As he climbs higher and higher his methods become more ruthless and ... See full summary »
In New York in the late 60s, a politically motivated group of students plans bombings of company offices who do business with dictators in Middle American countries. But when they contact a... See full summary »
Robert Allen Schnitzer
A champion of a brutal cross-country car race of the future where pedestrians are run down for points has a change of heart while being hounded by rivals and a conspiracy seeking to stop the race. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
The cars didn't run most of the time, so they had to be pushed down hills in order to get them to move. Moreover, the cameras used to film the cars were undercranked in order to perpetuate the illusion that they were moving faster. See more »
Cameraman and camera visible in reflection of trumpet in opening shot. See more »
[Opening; The United Provinces version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played at the fictional New York Memorial Raceway]
O, great American multitude and sports fans everywhere, today we inaugurate the 20th Annual Trans-Continental Road Race. Today, the five bravest young men and women in this greatest of nations will risk their lives in the greatest sporting event since the day the Sparticus! Three days hence, a new American champion will be crowned for all the world to behold, in...
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Action, dark comedy, political satire, SciFi, romance .... racing ... it's all here
David Carradine stars in this classic cult creation. Deathrace 2000 is the 20th anniversary of the murderous trans-continental road race, or, in the words of the US president "what you all want".
You could lose this film in the repertoire of John Carpenter. If you're a Carpenter fan, you really need to see this. Much is made of Corman's production of this film, but this is really not a Corman film in any sense - except for its very obviously low budget. Paul Bartel (of Eating Raoul fame) deserves the directorial credit here, and he really did well given the mediocrity of the material he had to work with.
Ostensibly, the film is about a race involving five participants - Frankenstein (Carradine), Machine Gun Joe Viterbo (Stallone), Calamity Jane (Woronov), Mathilda the Hunn, and Nero the Hero - all of comic book stature. They are joined by navigators who double as concubines, which, I suppose, illustrates the trust and intimacy a driver must have with any partner involved in a high speed transcontinental race where the goal is to kill as many pedestrians as possible along the way. About a quarter of the way through the film, it becomes clear that the real story is about the connection between the US government, religion, mass-produced violence and a resistance movement, all focused on either promoting or ending the race once and for all. As despicable as the empowered elite may be in this film, the critique of the media is even more scathing.
Carradine is race hero Frankenstein. Sly Stallone plays his arch-rival Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, and an ensemble cast of fellow racers, media mavens, politicos, and willing and unwilling victims of "the great race" lend strong support. The acting is predictably campy and sometimes just a little too B grade. But the occasional pacing disaster just enhances the humor-value of the film. Stallone is particularly amusing, and gets great support from his sidekick. Carradine is typically bizarre, and even parodies himself with a few poorly choreographed kung fu techniques during his absurd fight scene with Stallone. As short as he is, Stallone is still a much larger and more fit man than Carradine, but gets handily whooped. The cinematographer makes no effort to hide the absurdity of this scene.
The script for this film is a series of well-delivered clichés strung together with cleverly choreographed racing action sequences. As such, it parodies tough-guy talk in films and in real life. The photography is excellent, and on par with John Carpenter's straightforward visual subtlety.
This film appears, at first blush, as a comedic celebration of violence. But it's really a very campy comment on the use of violence in sport and entertainment, as a way to distract and desensitize the public from serious issues such as economic stress, collectivist totalitarianism, the enshrinement of mediocrity, and "minority privilege" (a euphemism for rule by an entrenched powerful elite). The film is dated and does not need to be seen ten times to get it (though I just completed about my 12th viewing).
The political messages are worth hearing, the humor is worth paying attention to, and, if it's your first time, you will likely find this movie quite entertaining.
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