Horror and B Movie fans know the name Roger Corman and hold it in high regard. Working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, and beyond, he has had a huge effect on the history of film and we love him for it. This is why him bringing back Death Race 2000 with Death Race 2050 should instantly catch your interest.
While some may point out that Death Race was already rebooted into the prison race movies (which weren’t actually that bad), Death Race 2050 is a different beast entirely. Going back to what made Death Race 2000 such an oddity, the spirit of Death Race is definitely back.
While the original Death Race was interesting because of its use of actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Death Race 2050 brings the ever-dependable Malcolm McDowell into the mix, and brings in Manu Bennett as the new Frankenstein.
Death Race 2050 could be described as a reboot of the original, but with a new spin. Directed and co-written by G.J. Echternkamp, the satire is strong here. Whether it is Malcolm McDowell’s Chairman with a questionable wig which is on Donald Trump levels, or the southern religious fanatic Tammy (Annessa Ramsey), subtlety is not on show here.
What is focused on is a future of capitalism which needs overthrowing if humanity is to survive. It just needs a hero like Frankenstein to wake them up to the fact.
What makes Death Race 2050 fun is that it takes what worked with the original and looks to add new ideas to it instead of re-writing the whole concept. We see inspiration from computer games, use of the virtual reality, and even social commentary that surprisingly hits all the right notes.
A good example of this is the “Bechdel Bar” which is a scene that includes two female characters sat in a bar having a conversation that is designed to pass the Bechdel-Wallace test. This is the type of humour that the film uses, and it is an insightful use of modern society to add humour. Also, for a movie that features a lot of nudity and un-PC content, it shows a fearlessness in the satire it is willing to use. It doesn’t mock the Bechdel-Wallace test, it has fun with it by actually making sure it passes it.
With this level of comedy, I would say that it is one of those movies that you will love if you “get it”, but some may be cold against it when watching to find weaknesses. Death Race 2050 is the very definition of a B movie, and waves the flag proudly, never forgetting its roots. In the documentaries included one of the actors compares it to Rocky Horror Picture Show but with cars, and that is a fair description. Especially when you look at some of the characters.
At a time when many movies seem to want to be serious and to have deep messages they want to discuss with the viewers, Death Race 2050 proves that you don’t need to be overly serious to make a social commentary, and do it will. It doesn’t preach to the audience, but the satire is heavy, looking at modern culture and ripping it apart.
Death Race 2050 is probably a better movie than it deserves to be. A very fun B movie that isn’t afraid to poke fun at modern culture, it is well worth checking out. This is a film that proclaims itself to be a Roger Corman movie, and manages to live up to every expectation that his name brings with it.
Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 is available now on Digital Download and releases on Blu-ray™ and DVD on the 20th March