Death Race 2 Roel Reiné

Death Race 2 Roel Reiné
Given 2008's successful remake of Roger Corman's classic 1975 venture, Death Race, it's no surprise that the (now) franchise is being milked to death. While its predecessor was no screaming hell ride, Death Race 2 proves just how far some concepts can fall. Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) is an organized crime member captured during a botched bank robbery. Sent to Terminal Island Prison (a privately owned penitentiary bent on profit over rehabilitation), his toughness lands him in the middle of Death Match, a pseudo-MMA television program hosted by the prison. Losing viewer numbers, the jail eventually creates Death Race, cue vicious car battles. While the premise sounds straightforward, the writers charged with devising some semblance of plot had little to pull from, given the finality of the last Death Race. Therefore, this film endeavours to be a saga prequel, delving into the story of how the race came into existence and, ultimately, what led to the 2008 instalment. While some aspects work, much of this script is hurriedly mashed together, offering vague situational explanations and pinning an open ending on the last scenes in order to create tension and set up Death Race when, really, it only leaves one frustrated for sticking it out. The film spends so much time setting up Lucas's entry to prison and Death Match that by the one-hour mark, we're still waiting to see some of these machine gun-laden vehicles. By the time they do appear, Reiné rushes to finish everything, killing off characters quickly and throwing in a half-hearted love sub-plot that goes nowhere. Visually, Death Race 2 is impressive ― the crazy cars and imposing prison settings ― but Reiné relies on too many clichés, such as elongated slow motion and a horrible electronic soundtrack seemingly pulled from a decade-old Matrix clone, which grates more than entertain. Even worse, the film fails to utilize its talented cast: Danny Trejo (Machete, The Devil's Rejects) and Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Dawn of the Dead) play Lucas's mechanic and the prison CEO, respectively. Their roles are so modest and glazed over one can sense the actors throwing their hands up and phoning it in. Compounding the issue, the bonus features are abysmal, featuring a self-gratifying commentary by the director, pointless deleted scenes (reiterated in an asinine montage created as another "bonus") and a cursory glance at the film's vehicles where cast/crew "ooh" and "ahh," but little actual information is disseminated. If there was any question as to why Death Race 2 is going straight to DVD, simply look at its title: this prequel is speeding towards a quick demise. (Universal)