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.
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.
Frank Martin puts the driving gloves on to deliver Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea. En route, he has to contend with thugs who want to intercept Valentina's safe delivery and not let his personal feelings get in the way of his dangerous objective.
Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei's trail.
A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.
In 2012, amid economic chaos and high unemployment, Americans watch by the millions as criminals with life sentences race armored cars on Terminal Island. Two-thirds of the combatants die but the winner may earn his freedom. On the day he loses his job, steelworker Jensen Ames is arrested for his wife's murder. Sent to Terminal Island, he's offered an out by the steely and manipulative Warden Hennessey - race as the popular mask-wearing (but now dead) champion, Frankenstein, or rot in prison. Jensen makes the bargain. As the three-stage race approaches, he realizes that the whole thing may be a set up - can an anonymous man behind a mask get revenge and win his release? Written by
who needs a plot when there's explosion and mayhem?
2012 the economy has hit bottom, broke through and has kept on descending. Along the way prisons have been handed over to the private sector that have chosen to make a profit by broadcasting gladiatorial style death matches starring the inmates, with the reward to the inmates after 5 victories FREEDOM Enter Jensen Ames (Jason Stratham) a recently unemployed steel worker and former race car driver who lost his license but no matter how bad things are, he's a happy man as long as he has his family.
That is, until he's set up for the murder of his wife, imprisoned, and forced to compete in Death Race if he ever hopes to see his daughter again.
But enough of the plot! A paragraph blurb at the start and 8 minutes of character development is pushing the limits of this flick and that's not why a person would see a W.S. Anderson/Jason Stratham action flick and besides, a plot would allow "plot holes" and who needs to deal with that headache? The rest of the movie takes place in the 3 days of Death Race. The first 2 days are competition/elimination rounds reminiscent of Mario Kart as if it was designed by some rogue member of GTA on a disgruntled day but who loved the hidden short cuts and power-ups.
Amongst all the adrenaline filled action, Anderson makes sure to toss in the occasional character development or when he's feeling really daring he'll toss in some pseudo-dramatic realization our hero comes across which helps remind the movie-goer that the movie has a plot rather than just a string of explosive action sequence. All of this is done with the utmost use of cliché and designed to inspire the excitable little 12 year old boy in many of us to stay riveted in our seats as we wait for Jensen to strike with angry revenge for all he's been through.
The movie is everything a modern day movie aficionado should not like. It's brainless, sexist, ridiculously violent, and lacks any redeemable qualities. These are also all the reasons why I had so much fun with the movie. I went seeing what I expected and that's exactly what I wanted to see!
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