Directed by Paul Bartel
1975 New World Pictures
by Tammy Wanchena
Oh boy! Another race film! I have this formula memorized. Underdog racer comes up through the ranks, only to be greeted by a terrible obstacle affecting both him and his love interest, conquers all then wins the race.
But hey, there’s something different about this movie…. The underdog racer dies in this one. And the race has nothing to do with a finish line. And I can’t predict the ending ten minutes into the film. Yes, Death Race 2000 was not born of Hollywood convention. It is a creation of the lovably demented Roger Corman.
Anyone familiar with Corman’s work immediately thinks “tits and ass”. Death Race 2000 is so much more than that. This is a feel good movie about running pedestrians over with your car and racking up points by doing so. This is a film about the revolution fighting for the people’s rights to live by killing people, such brilliant logic. This is a movie about marrying the woman who tries to kill you because she’s good in the sack. But most importantly, Death Race 2000 is a vision for the future. When the year 2000 comes, we will be ready for it thanks to this film’s foresight.
I am a huge fan of Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov who both starred in this movie along with Kung Fu David Carradine and Rambo Sylvester Stallone. Yes, this is a film to launch careers! While this review may lead you to believe that this film has enough motorcycle action to appear in MMM, sadly, it does not. A couple bikes are used to plant bombs to distract and hopefully kill the racers but that is literally the full extent of their exposure. But believe it or not, Death Race 2000 is the film that is rumored to have inspired Mad Max. And that’s review worthy enough for me!