Director: Roel Reine.
Writers: Tony Giglio, Paul W.S. Anderson, Tony Giglio and Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast: Luke Goss, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, Dougray Scott, Fred Koehler, and Tanit Phoenix.
The Death Race series of films are turning into a bit of a franchise. The original, starring David Carridine, came out way back in 1975. Then, Paul W. S. Anderson remade the original in 2008. The remake starred a very angry Jason Statham. Since 2008, the lead role of stunt driver Frankenstein has been played by the soft-spoken Luke Goss. Director Roel Reine has made the latest two sequels: Death Race 2 (2010) and the film reviewed here, Death Race: Inferno (2013). Reine's latest is his best to date. Reine is perfecting the action film with his frenetic directing style. Meanwhile, this second sequel blends genres. The action genre is prominent, but there are elements of romance and the thriller genre here, as well. Overall, Death Race: Inferno is a superbly shot film that brings a lot of excitement to the screen.
In the story, The Weyland Corporation has sold the Death Race pay-per-view television show to Niles York (Dougray Scott). York's plans for the show are to take the sereies to a global audience. Soon, the latest showing of Death Race is set for South Africa's deserts. Here, ten convicts must fight to the death, in order to receive clemency. Each character is a murderer. And, there can be only one winner. The character Frankenstein has his eyes on the prize, but he also has eyes for the beautiful Katrina (Tanit Phoenix) and for taking down the selfish and malicious Niles. A great deal of conflict takes place over the course of the film's 100 minutes.
Is the Frankenstein character a hero or anti-hero?
A lot of that conflict involves violence. The car and truck races cover several kilometers. And, the racetrack is littered with obstacles. The drivers have to navigate through small shanty towns, while rioters threaten to throw the race into further turmoil. As well, local warlords also get in on the action. Technicals flood the racecourse. There is little down time to relax, in the film. The racers spend their time off beating each other up, or the other guards. It seems that someone is constantly laying the smack down on someone else. The prominent use of violence manages to keep the pacing moving ahead at a very quick clip.
If the violence is not satisfying for viewers, then there are abundant scenes of sexuality. Frankenstein is reigniting his flame for his former girlfriend Katrina, but some of the other navigators also have their eye on this top driver. Then, Frankenstein's mechanic, Goldberg (Danny Trejo), is using his hospital stay to charm one of the nurses. Goldberg is not satisfied with having his wound stitched, alone. York is also getting in on the action. He uses his power and influence to seduce the local official, Satana (Hlubi Mboya). Basically, most of the characters are disrobing many of the other characters. There is a lot of eye candy to be seen in Reine's latest.
All of the action is shot with an expert shooting style. Reine appears very comfortable with the action film. He uses aerial shots to capture much of the racing. Events can easily be seen with these overhead shots. Reine also uses lots of quick tracking shots to film the action. This shooting style keeps the action tense. Also, the camera is often in the centre of the action, which will make many viewers feel as if they are a part of the dangerous events onscreen. From close-ups to medium shots, Reine is consistently keeping the visual sphere interesting. Yet, the scenes are often only held for a few seconds. The quick changing of scenes can be unsettling at first, but Reine's shooting techniques are almost always compelling. Viewers will be drawn into the well shot action.
Death Race: Inferno is a fun action film, which will satisfy many viewers. The action and sexuality keep events thrilling, while this second sequel expands the film's premise. There are likely to be future sequels added to this franchise as Death Race goes international. This viewer would like to see Reine lens another film in this series as Reine knows how to deliver what viewers want: explosions, gunfire and a gorgeous cast.
Overall: 8 out of 10 (this is an excellent straight-to-DVD release, characters are slightly shallow but polished, tension and conflicts are well delivered, the pacing is full speed ahead, lots to like here).
*this title releases on DVD and Blu-Ray February 15th.
Fans of action thrillers can visit the film's fan page for more info':
Death Race: Inferno on Facebook
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