Jan 082017

Death Race 2050 might not be very good but the filmmakers weren’t trying to make it very good and as a throwback to the 1975 original it certainly does the job well. That said, watching it solo, it wasn’t all that fun with the gimmick wearing thin early on but I suspect if you watched in a group, there might be some entertainment value.



Death Race 2050

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Comedy, Action
Universal | R – 93 min. – $26.98 | January 17, 2017

Date Published: 01/08/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
G.J. Echternkamp
Writer(s): IB Melchior (original story), Robert Thom and Charles B. Griffith (based on the original screenplay); Matt Yamashita & G.J. Echternkamp (screenplay)
Cast: Manu Bennett, Malcolm McDowell, Marci Miller, Burt Grinstead, Folake Olowofoyeku, Anessa Ramsey, Yancy Butler
Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
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: 32.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 1.75/5

You don’t see this very often where you get a sequel to a 40+ year old movie at the same time the remake franchise, as started by auteur director Paul W.S. Anderson, is still going with a fourth movie, Death Race: Anarchy, set for release in 2018. This one, titled Death Race 2050, is at least a spiritual successor to the 1975 classic and while it certainly has the same tone being a throwback to 1970s action, and shoddy production values, I found it to be a gimmick that lost its charm fairly quickly.

The story takes place in a dystopian future where the United States is now the United Corporation of America led by the Chairman (MALCOLM MCDOWELL) where the hottest thing on television, and now virtual reality glasses, is a race amongst some colorful characters, out to rack up points mowing down citizens (10 for adults, 20 for kids, 50 for senior citizens). Racers include: rising star (in his own head perhaps) Jed Perfectus (BURT GRINSTEAD), rapper Minerva (FOLAKE OLOWOFOYEKU), evangelist Tammy (ANESSA RAMSEY) and finally, fan favorite Frankenstein (MANU BENNETT) known for being masked but removes fairly early on. Co-piloting — and carrier of a VR camera (which all of the drivrs have) — with the reluctant gruff Frankenstein is Annie Sullivan (MARCI MILLER) with the pair clashing before finding a moderate respect for one another.

That’s the basic plot though there’s a bit more concerning a resistance group’s attempts (which include Ninjas!) to take down the bloody Death Race spectacle, targeting all of the drivers but in particular Frankenstein who could be used as a symbol. Or something along those lines.

Death Race 2050 was a dumb movie. Stupid in fact. Cheaply done (or at least cheap to look at) and clearly it was done on purpose and in keeping with the spirit of the original. The problem I had wasn’t that it was brainless, but that there wasn’t much enjoyment factor, especially watching it alone; I’d imagine if this were put on in a group setting, perhaps there’d be a fun factor.

Outside of a thin plot, and honestly it needn’t be dense, you have a plethora of characters are, unsurprisingly, caricatures from the black rapper portrayed by Folake Olowofoyeku (described as an afro-electro-rock musician) to Anessa Ramsey Tammy preacher with a religious following, and Burt Grinstead’s Perfectus, a narcissistic egomaniac with some, let’s say, gender issues. And like the plot, these characters were written to be over-the-top and yet, I found none of them to be particularly fun and their individual shticks grew tired.

As for the star character, as previously portrayed by David Carradine and Jason Statham in the 2005 remake, this time the role is played by Manu Bennett, an unknown for sure but fans of Arrow will recognize him as Slade Wilson aka Deathstoke before being killed off to, presumably, be available for the DC Extended Universe. But I digress, for what he’s given to work with, and playing it somewhat straight in many instances, Bennett isn’t a half-bad action star and combined with Marci Miller as his co-pilot, they might be the highlights.

Death Race 2050 might entertain fans of 1970s-era action-comedy and this does have plenty over-the-top bloody kills and as I said, if this is viewed in a group setting, this could be a rolocking good time, solo however, and doesn’t play as well, although I do give points to producer Roger Corman and co-writer/director G.J. Echternkamp, they certainly impressively replicated the 1975 original…



This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover and inside is a DVD Copy and redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

The Making of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 (10:16; HD) is your standard behind-the-scenes featurette that includes interviews with members of the cast and crew as they discuss how the project came to be.

The Look of 2050 (6:29; HD) – This featurette goes behind-the-scenes on filming in South Africa in the midst of heat and on the costume designs.

Cars! Cars! Cars! (4:33; HD) – I’ll give you a guess what this one is about…

Deleted Scenes (5:35; HD) – 10 scenes are included here albeit nothing that would’ve changed the final product all that much.


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Universal releases Death Race 2050 onto Blu-ray shown with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture basically looks like any other direct-to-video release with nice colors and detail relatively sharp, but with HD, the sets and CGI look worse, although it’s likely what Corman and company were after. Still, it’s clean and there’s at least some minor grain giving it a film-like appearance.

AUDIO – 4.5/5

Surprisingly for a sci-fi action-er, this didn’t get a DTS: X or Atmos treatment but even so, the DTS-HD Master Audio transfer does provide for robust depth especially for the numerous action/race sequences while still outputting crisp and clear dialogue, such as it is, through the center channel while rears are relegated for ambient noises.


OVERALL – 2.75/5

Overall, Death Race 2050 might not be very good but the filmmakers weren’t trying to make it very good and as a throwback to the 1975 original, for which I think is a sequel (though there seems to be contradiction if it’s a sequel or remake), it certainly does the job well. That said, watching it solo, it wasn’t all that fun with the gimmick wearing thin early on but I suspect if you watched in a group, there might be some entertainment value. The Blu-ray release offers good video and audio with some throwaway bonus material.





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

  4 Responses to “Review: Death Race 2050 BD + Screen Caps”

Comments (4)
  1. I’m watching this in a window on my PC. And I’m looking for an intelligent review of this POS. It’s amazing to think there are some people, somewhere, who will pay money for this. When I burn this copy to disc it’s 20 cents spent, but this is insurance in case any of the “stars” wind up in a decent movie later in their careers

    Believe it or not, “drive, drive, kill kill!” isn’t quite in the same league as “faster pussycat kill kill”..

  2. Ha, forgot about that stupid song. One thing this movie did do was remind me Yancy Butler is still around.

  3. Thanks for the review dude, enjoyed reading it. Followed. 🙂

  4. Really appreciate it, thanks!

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