Appropriate that this movie is a car wreck. The year is 2050. We have overpopulated the Earth, and we now have car races to murder innocent bystanders in an effort to control the population. Will the favorite racer known as Frankenstein (Manu Bennett) manage to overthrow the government? Now I like manly Jason Statham movies just fine, but you know your movie is a turkey when you make 2008’s Death Race look like Bullitt. I’m not going to keep you in suspense: I think this movie is trash, and I can’t imagine anybody who reads this review actually liking it.
No, this isn’t a screenshot from a movie of yesteryear, this is the 2017 release.
The biggest name attached to this is Roger Corman, who I had no idea was still producing movies, being that he is over 90 years old. He is a man that is renown for releasing movies on a shoestring budget (and for producing the original Death Race 2000 in 1975 (which I haven’t seen)), and this is most certainly that. There are cheap effects all over the place, and even the overall look to this is lacking. None of the leads are worthwhile at acting, and as soon as Malcolm McDowell shows his face, you know you are in for something subpar (I love Clockwork Orange as much as the next guy, but he has an awful track record with modern film). In addition to that, you have a no budget Gerard Butler in Manu Bennett, and you clearly get what you pay for.
The map of United States in 2050 is probably the funniest thing about the movie.
On top of all that, Death Race 2050 doesn’t even do a competent job at establishing the parameters of its own story. They are racing towards the finish line which is understandably the climax of the film, but being that the winner is the driver with the highest kill count, what does it really even matter? If I had to say one positive, it would be that it does a very consistent job at pinging you on that kill count, but that’s about it. This is a movie that should be fun, and it would be one thing if these characters had anything humorous to say, or even if you remotely liked any of these people, but that is never the case. When it is not being cheap and stupid, it is giving you a Hunger Games-esque lecture by somebody who clearly does not understand economics. It is borderline unwatchable, and you should skip it.
Death Race 2050 (2017) *
– Critic for Hire