Sunday, March 5, 2017

Movie Review: "Death Race 2050" (2017)

Image Source
Director: G.J. Echternkamp
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

In a dystopic year 2050, an annual three day cross-country death race is held where contestants race across the former United States and score points by running over pedestrians.

"Death Race 2050" is directed by G.J. Echternkamp and is produced by famed exploitation film producer Roger Corman. The film takes place in a dystopic year 2050 during the annual death race, a televised competition where a group of racers, each with a unique gimmick and car, race across the former US earning points by running over as many pedestrians as possible along the way. The biggest star in this death race is Frankenstein, played by Manu Bennett, who has more wins than any other competitor. He is believed to be mostly cybernetic now, thanks to his many crashes. His main competition and biggest rival is believed to be Jed Perfectus, played by Burt Grinstead, however, his co-pilot Annie Sullivan, played by Marci Miller, is a member of the resistance, fighting against the totalitarian government that runs the death race. They hope to use him, the biggest star in the game, Frankenstein, as a bargaining chip in their fight.

Does this above description look familiar? That's because "Death Race 2050" is a cheap knockoff of the ultra-violent and fun "Death Race 2000" from 1975, so much so that the above summary is word for word the same as the original's, only with names and the title of the movie changed. It is still a low budget film, this time produced directly for release on Netflix. The plot, like 1975 version, is very stupid and is loaded with gimmicks. However, the campy fun that made the original so charming and so successful as a cult exploitation classic doesn't work in the slightest here. This film is trying way too damn hard to be kitschy and appeal to the nostalgia and low budget camp of the original. In every attempt to do so, it winds up feeling artificial and more like a phony facsimile of a much better product that came decades before it.

"Death Race 2050" feels like this is a fan film doing its best to recapture the magic, the look, and the feel of the original, but those behind the scenes don't fully grasp how to do it successfully. There is a lack of creativity when it comes to the driver characters, from the principal two to the other players in the game. Their names are rather generic and their gimmicks are not much better. Sure, it's poorly acted and cheesy like the 1975 movie, but it's definitely not as kitschy or as masterful. It has a few satirical political undertones that feel thrown in just because they were in the original. This movie is trying too hard to be goofy, which is probably why it fails so hard. It's actually extremely painful to watch and we loathed nearly every minute of it. This long-oft sequel oozes try-hard, a vast failure where the original was effortlessly successful. This intentionally makes the product look and feel bad, and not in the good way like Paul Bartel did decades ago by making the most out of what little he had, in an attempt to duplicate what had already been done so well in the past. Director G.J. Echternkamp doesn't do enough to distinguish his own product as anything but a near carbon copy of the original, which is probably why it failed so miserably. Netflix opting to pick this movie as part of its original content lineup is was a downright awful decision.

My Rating: 1/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Ratin: 3.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment