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Death Race (2008)

R  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  22 August 2008 (USA)
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 158,706 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 209 user | 228 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

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.



(screenplay), (screen story), 3 more credits »
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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lists (as Frederick Koehler)
Joe's Navigator
Danny Blanco Hall ...
Joe's Navigator
Joe's Navigator


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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Get ready for a killer ride. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

22 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Death Race 3000  »

Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,621,090 (USA) (22 August 2008)


£1,920,818 (UK) (10 October 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Tom Cruise couldn't get the film into a place where he was happy with it, the project was placed into turnaround by Paramount. Universal immediately acquired the rights, and Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner came back on board, this time with Paul W.S. Anderson writing and directing. See more »


When Pachenko flips his car after hitting the steel support you can see that the car has 3 Racing tires and 1 regular as well as the rig used to set it up but in the shot after the car returns to 4 racing slicks. See more »


[first lines]
Case: [while being shot at during Death Race] Damn it!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits, the line "Okay cocksucker. Fuck with me, and we'll see who shits on the sidewalk" is heard again. See more »


References Grand Prix (1966) See more »


Frank Walk
Written By: Paul Haslinger
Performed By: Paul Haslinger
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fun, Fun, FUN!
20 August 2008 | by (San Francisco, Ca.) – See all my reviews

Now here's an exploitation film that knows what a solid B-movie is supposed to be: an action-dense, amped-up, gore-soaked killfest. It's the cinematic equivalent of eating that entire box of Red Vines you bought at the snack bar, using them as candy straws to suck down your extra-large Coke.

As a fan of the original "Death Race 2000," I was pleased to see just enough of a shadow of the original movie inhabiting the skin of the new one. Roger Corman's name on the producing credits gave me hope at the start, and his seal of approval seemed to mean something, perhaps as counterweight to Paul W. S. Anderson's track record of shooting mediocre video game adaptations. Surprisingly, Anderson rises to the occasion, effortlessly elevating a cliché-rich but fast-moving script to the level of a satisfyingly adrenalin-fueled confection aimed like a bullet at the A.D.D.-addled brains of the short-attention-span generation.

Set in an "Escape From New York"-style dystopic prison-culture (that sounds suspiciously like current American society), slaughter happens, stuff blows up, and the weak are culled like bunnies caught in the headlights of gas-sucking American muscle cars. Fans of the "Twisted Metal" video game will love the newest wrinkle in the race, the addition of weaponry – a needed bloody bump for version 2.0. And what a bump it is, with each car's chugging machine guns indiscriminately spewing hot rounds at every foe, shredding Detroit steel like it was used Kleenex. It's unabashed gun fetishism at its gleeful best, and it makes you want to strap an M60 to the hood of your Prius in order to cut your commute in half.

Jason Statham does his standard tough-guy job as the scowling Frankenstein, Joan Allen plays a ball-busting warden (perhaps a bit in the mold of Louise Fletcher's Nurse Ratched), and Ian McShane of "Deadwood" has a solid cameo as the prison-wise mechanic, Coach. Even Machine Gun Joe gets a new incarnation in the form of Tyrese Gibson, who thankfully is nothing like Stallone's blustering Italian meatball.

I loved it, and can't wait to see it again in a theater with enough bass to pump up those impact crunches to the bone-jarring level they deserve.


134 of 187 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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