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 plane holds just one bomb but nonetheless multiple explosions occur when it attacks. 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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In a dystopian future, a cross country automobile race requires contestants to run down innocent pedestrians to gain points that are tallied based on each kills brutality. Starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone.
When I was younger and my family would go for a drive, my father would often make the remark that if he swerved and hit someone, it would be worth twenty points. In my youth, I never really understood where he picked it up from, but now I think it is safe to say that "Death Race 2000" was his source.
While this movie is fairly cheesy, it is fun in a way most other films simply are not. I would not even call it a "dark comedy" because the violence is not dark, it is just campy. Beverly Gray calls it "comically macabre".
There is some strong underlying message about American values that could be interpreted differently by different people: is America an inherently violent nation? Or are we a nation trying to maximize our freedoms? (This dispute comes into play when "rebels" show up who wish to end the race and restore the old America.) What is interesting is that Corman was known to be anti-authority, so he should be saying that this race is barbaric. Yet, he clearly understands that the viewer enjoys the death scenes... without them, the film would be nothing. What does this say about us, or about him?
Stallone has a surprisingly small role, despite being the secondary character. He does not speak much and seems to be in the movie for no other reason than to use violence against women. In the vernacular, he "keeps his pimp hand strong".
David Carradine, who never busts out many a karate move in this film, is the real hero. He plays the race's most popular character ("Frankenstein") who has allegedly been pieced back together year after year. His bondage gear outfit and smooth Carradine attitude make him a clear favorite for movie viewers, as well.
All in all, this film is a cult classic and deserves to be. Corman wanted to compete with "Rollerball" (1975) for a fraction of the cost, so he purchased Ib Melchoir's "The Racer" and went from there. I think he succeeded. I do not know how much money each film made, but I know of nobody today who is out there calling "Rollerball" the better film.
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