Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Death Race 2050
Soulful bruiser Manu Bennett fills-in for David Carradine in Death Race 2050, a ramshackle sequel-cum-remake of Paul Bartel and Roger Corman's cult perennial. Perhaps mindful of the real-time collapse of civilisation we're currently churning through, GJ Echternkamp's film ditches the correctional facility cock-fighting seen in Jason Statham and Luke Goss' loose remake trilogy, returning this film's focus to pointless, tranquillising distractions and a flagrant disregard for human life.
Unfortunately, Echternkamp's film has all the satirical bite and visual pep of a porn parody. Although costumed bodies are occasionally lingered over, the rough and ready grime of a New World production is gone, leaving the kind of flat, HD sunniness usually associated with rushed productions and the aforementioned smutty replication. Actual racing is terminally safe, rendered as little more than monotonous, static head shots granted a vague sense of movement by a light camera shake.
The casual, future-shocked cruelty of the Bartel's film, perhaps no longer shocking enough, is only wheeled out as a series of gooey punchlines, any sense of horror neutralised by the weak, variety show standard mutilation. 2050 is too self-aware. It knows it's a cheap supermarket shelf-filler, so why try harder? Echternkamp and Corman's sole shots at relevance are a few click bait friendly jibes at the current political establishment - 2050 works overtime to visually connect Donald Trump's mad hairdo with the kind of polished ferns you see in The Hunger Games series.