Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rebaked Beans

Roger (King of the B’s) Corman’s original 1975 Death Race 2000, directed with funky eye-winking aplomb by Paul Bartel, was one of those types of future schlockfests that wore it’s self-awareness on it’s gory and greasy sleeves. It was all vroom-vroom, wink-wink, and ha-ha while the cloud of marijuana smoked wafted through the midnight showing. Watching the movie again, it remains a cult treasure, lean, mean, and propelled by a deadpan tone that mocks itself at every B-movie cliché and corner. Corman is listed as one of the multiple producers of his movies’ remake, now simply Death Race, and he has cannily connected himself with writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, a contempo schlockmeister proudly responsible for the vidgame-to-movie crap classics Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat. Anderson whips through the remake with a rat-a-tat-tat breeziness, with stone headed Jason Statham in the role originated by the forever cool David Carradine, surprisingly helped out by A-listers Joan Allen and Ian MacShane, both juicily slumming on the B-side. It’s a trifle, and no way as much cheeky fun as the original, but it’s a totally entertaining trifle.

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