Monday, December 22, 2008

Death Race on DVD

“What we trained to do, very hard in the film, we tried to ground it in reality as much as possible”
—producer Jeremy Bolt

I was less than impressed with Paul W.S. Anderson’s remake of Death Race 2000. The film follows a group of convicts who race around the prison yard in armored suped-up cars with machine guns, all for the camera. For more on the plot of the film itself read the original review.

The film is available in both a one-disc DVD and Blu-ray. The regular DVD includes a commentary from director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Timothy Bolt. There’s some interesting stuff here including the 14 year path taken to make the film and the fact that Harvey Corman was onboard with the attempt (which does nothing to improve my opinion of Corman). Thought there’s some interesting tidbits about the prison itself and how different aspects of the race were filmed separately and cut-together, there’s nothing here which explains or apologizes for the sheer absurdity of the entire enterprise.

Also included are a trailer and two featurettes. The first, “Start Your Engines: Making of Death Race,” is your basic behind the scenes look with interviews cut between clips. The second, “Behind the Wheel: Dissecting the Stunts” you think would be more interesting as its geared to the one aspect of the film which really works. You’d be wrong. Although it shows a little behind the scenes on the making of the cars it doesn’t go into detail on any of the stunts themselves specifically, which is disappointing.

The other extra here is the ability to watch both the theatrical version of the film and the slightly longer “Unrated” version which includes a few deleted and extended scenes added back into the film. Do these unrated scenes make much of a difference or improvment to the film? No, not really.

The Blu-ray version also includes your basic BD-Live features including the ability to chat, create and share your own commentary for the film (here you might have fun with this in a MST3000 style), and tech-spces on the cars and races of the film.

Reading the review and watching the film and features show you just how large the disconnect was with the people involved in making the film and the final result. “Grounded in reality as much as possible.” Yeah, like Hancock. Death Race isn’t a total waste but it’s more of a cable flick to check out a 2am than something you’re going to want to put money down for - unless you simply want a mindless action flick you can get wasted to with your friends and laugh at, stare at the tame T&A, and enjoy the stunts. I think that’s actually the target audience for the film.

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