Oct 142018
 

I actually didn’t think Death Race: Beyond Anarchy was bad, just a bit more of the same from the reboot franchise, though switching things up making Frankenstein an outright antagonist or extreme anti-hero.

 

 

Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
— Unrated & Unhinged —
(2018)

Genre(s): Action
Universal | Unrated – 111 min. – $22.98 | October 2, 2018

Date Published: 10/14/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Don Michael Paul
Writer(s): Paul W.S. Anderson and Tony Giglio (story), Tony Giglio and Don Michael Paul (screenplay)
Cast: Zach McGowan, Danny Glover, Fred Koehler, Christine Marzano, Danny Trejo
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 38.1 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 2.25/5


Death Race: Beyond Anarchy is the fourth movie in the remake franchise. Although I kind of enjoyed the Jason Statham action vehicle (no pun intended), the sequels (well, prequels taking place before the events of the first film) haven’t been all that great and this entry, albeit attempting to taking the series in a bit of a new direction, feels awfully derivative. Beyond Anarchy is from what I can tell, the first true sequel to the 2008 remake.

It’s the near future and the Death Race has been outlawed while the undesirables have been walled off and a population of 200k has their own little anarchical society ruled by the infamous Frankenstein who in this film serves as the antagonist rather than the protagonist as he was in the previous entries. Enter convict Connor Gibson (ZACH MCGOWAN), the newest “citizen” of what is called the Sprawl.

Upon arrival, Gibson is seeking a man known as Baltimore Bob (DANNY GLOVER), who has connections in the Sprawl and, from what I can tell, more or less runs a pit crew for the Death Race, the no-holds-barred, win or die race made illegal. Along with techie Lists (FRED KOEHLER, the only actor to appear in all four of these movies), Gibson intends on not only winning the race, but taking down the deadly Frankenstein down in the process. Along the way, he also meets and falls for bartender Jane (CHRISTINE MARZANO).

In a town filled with Anarchy, Gibson must tread carefully while holding a secret, one that is completely spoiled on the Blu-ray/DVD back cover, nice going.

Funny thing, although I had seen the previous three Death Race movies, and even reviewed the third one, Inferno, I cannot for the life of me remember a single moment other than a man named Frankenstein wearing a metal mask, some car crashes and crazy sexy women. Beyond Anarchy has all of that taken to what I assume was the next level. And that’s kind of the problem I had with this entry: there’s really nothing that stands out and begins feeling repetitive, even while the filmmakers do switch things around like making Frankenstein the villain (or anti-hero) or having it take place in a wasteland run by the criminals while the outside world, and the Weyland company, trying to put a stop to it.

That isn’t to say Beyond Anarchy was bad. Some of the stunt work was decent, for this kind of production anyway, and I actually didn’t mind Zach McGowan marking what I believe is his first lead role in a feature film (known for a few television stints on shows like Agents of SHIELD, The 100 and Black Sails, and is set to be the lead in the upcoming Scorpion King: Book of Souls). Not saying he’s terribly charismatic, but was likeable in one of the few roles with any sort of depth. It was also fun to see Danny Glover, even if it’s a B-level direct-to-video flick. And in her limited role, Christine Marzano played nicely opposite McGowan. Also, Danny Trejo returns in what I assume was a one-day shoot, appearing for only about 5-minutes.

Death Race: Beyond Anarchy was directed by Don Michael Paul, Universal’s go-to guy previously helming Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, Kindergarten Cop 2, Tremors 5: Bloodlines and Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell, amongst other DTV affairs like Sniper: Legacy and Sniper: Ghost Shooter as well as the Steven Seagal treasure, Half Past Dead. Nothing of note in terms of his direction, it’s perfectly serviceable though using some trickery or shaky-cam perhaps to cover up the limited budget. Also of note, Paul W.S. Anderson, director of the first Death Race (2008), also has a credit as one of the two story writers (as he did with the two sequels) and as an executive producer.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5


This release comes with a title embossed slip cover, inside is the redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Don Michael Paul and Actor Zach McGowan. More often than not, I prefer commentaries with more than one participant and here the pair provide stories on set and break down the production.

Inside the Anarchy (5:50; HD) takes viewers behind the scenes on the origins of this latest entry into the Death Race (remake) franchise.

Time Served: Lists & Goldberg (3:01; HD) is a featurette on actors Fred Koehler and Danny Trejo, who have appeared in previous entries.

 


VIDEO – 4.0/5


Universal unleashes Death Race: Beyond Anarchy onto Blu-ray presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and given a gritty-looking 1080p high-definition transfer. Given the post-apocalyptic style, this isn’t exactly a pretty picture and although colors are drab be it night or day, detail is halfway decent and I did not notice any apparent artifacts or aliasing.

AUDIO – 4.5/5


The movie comes with a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which especially comes to life during the “Death Pit” and “Death Race” sequences, with an extra boost from the LFE, while also providing clear dialogue levels via the center channel and some modest depth for the front and rear channels.

 


OVERALL – 2.75/5


Overall, I actually didn’t think Death Race: Beyond Anarchy was bad, just a bit more of the same from the reboot franchise, though switching things up making Frankenstein an outright antagonist or extreme anti-hero. The Blu-ray release from Universal has good video/audio transfers and a lackluster set of bonus features.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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