Death Race 2000 (1975) / Action-Sci FiMPAA Rated: R for violence and brief nudity
Running Time: 79 min.
Cast: David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, Simone Griffeth, Mary Woronov, Roberta Collins
Director: Paul Bartel
Screenplay: Robert Thom, Charles Griffith
Review published March 6, 2003
It's the year 2000, and all of America watches intently on the Transcontinental Road Race involving five drivers and their navigators in a race from New York to New Los Angeles. What makes this race unique is that not only is it the object to get to the finish line first, but it requires you to kill as many pedestrians as possible along the way. Not only that, but the more weak and defenseless the pedestrian, the more points you get! Frankenstein (Carradine, Circle of Iron) is the most popular of the drivers, loved by millions across the country, but his navigator is the granddaughter of Thomasina Paine, the leader of the Rebel movement who are looking to put an end to the barbaric race once and for all and sabotage the drivers at every turn.
Death Race 2000 is low in budget, but very high in chutzpah. Definitely schlock filmmaking at its absolute finest, but great fun at the same time. Ok, so it's not by any means a great piece of art, but it does have a satirical subtext beneath the obvious sensational onscreen violence. You can knock it for having the depth of a comic book, but hey...comic books can be fun, and this has a fair share of hilariously devilish moments. Death Race 2000 is very violent, and you have to be a little twisted yourself to properly enjoy it, but it's entertaining for those who are game, and it's also a must for Sly (Rocky, II) fans.
©2003 Vince Leo