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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The titular "Death Race" is a media event conducted from prison by a private corporation; the film's near-future setting involves an economic recession that's put millions out of work. A lead character is unjustly sentenced for the death of his wife, though he has a prior criminal record. authority figures are depicted as corrupt thugs. A disclaimer after the film states that viewers should not "duplicate any action, driving, or car play" they've just seen.
Violence & Scariness
Constant graphic action, including shooting, fistfights, stabbings, people being beaten with truncheons, explosions, car crashes, Tasering, pepper spraying, head-butts, a character slashing himself with a razor blade, a character being strangled with a length of chain, and more. Several grisly demises are witnessed on screen, including a bare-handed neck-breaking, a character being struck by a car, a character being hurled from a moving car, a character being burned alive, a character's vehicle being struck by a tank shell, a speeding car being impaled on spikes, a female character being mangled by wheel-spikes cutting through the side of a car and her body, and much more.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate kissing in a committed relationship; ogling of women who are wearing tight/low-cut outfits. Some discussion of a character's homosexuality.
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Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "ass," "c--k," "c--ksucker," "homo," "faggot," "bitch," "bulls--t," "t---y," "damn," and more. The "N" word is used repeatedly in a song on the soundtrack.
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Products & Purchases
Extensive mention and on-screen presence of car-related brands, including Ford Mustang, Dodge Ram, BMW, Porsche, Mopar, NASCAR, NOS nitrous oxide systems, NASCAR, and more; Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is seen on screen, with the label in close-up.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character drinks a beer; characters smoke.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is a non-stop series of graphic, violent action scenes, with lots of blood and some gore. Although it's based on '70s exploitation film Death Race 2000, this movie forgoes the original film's over-the-top satire in favor of even more-over-the-top action. The film's authority figures -- a prison warden and her guards -- are uniformly depicted as corrupt, brutish, money-hungry thugs. The main character is in prison for killing his wife, which he didn't do; at the same time, he racks up a substantial body count throughout the film in his quest for vengeance. Also expect plenty of strong language, plenty of car-related product placement, and some drinking and smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
DEATH RACE isn't high art, but it's an impressive piece of exploitation moviemaking. Any troubling questions of logic or sense will be drowned out by the roar of the engines and the guns, and Statham's low-key action-hero presence makes it easy to watch him. There's some nice slumming going on within the supporting cast, too, with Oscar-nominated actress Allen (The Contender, The Bourne Ultimatum) playing the diabolical warden and Ian McShane (Deadwood) playing Coach, the head of Jensen's pit crew.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson has made plenty of mid-level, low-budget, high-concept action films, but he seems unusually inspired by Death Race; the race sequences are well shot, and the film's giddy, guilty-pleasure action scenes are big, bold, and brutal. There are a few hints of social commentary in Anderson's script -- Hennessy notes that her event has "more viewers than the Super Bowl" -- but Death Race doesn't linger on satire, choosing instead to get to the burning rubber and blazing guns. Death Race isn't for young kids, but older teens will be able to enjoy it for what it is -- an over-the-top piece of well-made trash that delivers precisely what you'd expect from a movie called Death Race.
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Our Editors Recommend
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