A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Death Race Beyond Anarchy is the fourth movie in a series that began in 2008 with Death Race, starring Jason Statham, a remake of 1975's Death Race 2000, in which a violent road race to the death is the preeminent entertainment in a dystopian society. In this latest entry, a stoic newcomer to the largest privately-run prison in the world, "The Sprawl," attempts to win the upcoming Death Race and dethrone the prison's diabolical leader. Violence, brutality, sexuality, and profanity are in central focus from beginning to end. Countless deaths are caused by gunfire, explosions, knifings, decapitation, and savage hand-to-hand combat. Cameras focus on bloody corpses, dismemberment, and out-of-control beatings to the death. While some women take part in the violent action, others are set up as sex objects, writhing in a strip club, exposing themselves (both breasts and full-frontal nudity) and lasciviously seductive. Continuous profanity is heard throughout (i.e., "bastard," "s--t," "p---y," and infinite uses of "f--k" in many forms). Drinking and drunkenness are frequent. Note: Death Race Beyond Anarchy has been released in two versions. One has earned an MPAA "R" rating (strong violence and language throughout, nudity and sexual content). This reviewer's screener is Not Rated, announcing on the cover that it's "Unrated & Unhinged." No kids.
What's the story?
The U.S. has suffered a total societal breakdown in DEATH RACE BEYOND ANARCHY. To incarcerate the worst of its violent criminals, Weyland International, a private corporation, has created the world's largest prison, called "The Sprawl." Surrounded by a wall from which there's no escape, an entire city has become that prison -- a harrowing, isolated place. Chaos reigns. Violence is rampant. Death is a constant way of life. A seemingly-indestructible leader, called "Frankenstein" (Velislav Pavlov), rules the bloodthirsty prison population with an iron hand (and an iron mask, as well). The primary entertainment: The Death Race -- a car race broadcast over "the dark web" to millions of "fans." Only one competitor can survive. Frankenstein takes on all comers. To kill him in a Death Race is the only possible way to become the commander of The Sprawl. On the outside, Weyland's authorities are near panic; they've lost control. Enter Connor (Zach McCowan), a mysterious new prisoner, a stoic force of nature, whom it appears that no one can defeat in battle. His objective: to compete in the Death Race. To gain entry to the race, he must prove himself time and again against the most vicious men and women of Sprawl City. Connor's quest becomes more treacherous and more surprising as he gets closer to his goal.
Is it any good?
Mobs screaming for blood, vicious battles between brutal men and women with nothing to lose, and a lone warrior, slashing his way to dominance, are at the center of this dark, loathsome tale. The prison population is equal parts Goth, skinhead, gang thug, and sex-crazed obsessive. The conquering hero is a Richard Gere look-alike who is quite successful at selling his bravery, hidden decency, and audacity. The villain is a holdover from the earlier episodes of the franchise -- ruthless, smart, and always compelling. So much for character building in Death Race Beyond Anarchy. Carnage, profanity, and provocative sexuality is everything else.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Death Race Beyond Anarchy. What do you think motivated the filmmakers to include so much graphic violence in this movie? Was it ever too much for you? Did it seem gratuitous or unnecessary? Why is it important for families to understand the impact of violence in the media? How does your family determine which action movies the kids can see?
In film and literature, what is the meaning of the term "anti-hero?" In what ways does Connor fit the definition of an anti-hero?
Whom do you think the filmmakers identify as the target audience for this film?
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