NASCAR Gone Bad
Release Date: August 22, 2008
Genre: Action Thriller
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 89 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures/General Electric
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Executive Producer: Dennis E. Jones
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Address Comments To:Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman/CEO, General Electric
Jeff Zucker, President/CEO, NBC Universal
Ron Meyer, President/COO, Universal Studios
Marc Shmuger, Chairman
David Linde, Co-Chairman
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
Jensen Ames, played by Jason Statham, is a veteran racecar driver trying to make ends meet in a futuristic society. His wife is killed, and he is framed for her murder. He is put into Terminal Island Prison, run by a woman named Hennesey and owned by a multi-billion dollar company, which sponsors a pay-per-view “Death Race” from the island prison. If Jensen wins the race, he will gain his freedom. He soon learns that he was framed so that he would come into the prison and drive in the Death Race. Jensen then proceeds to enact revenge on the man who killed his wife and Hennesey, the one who had him framed.
DEATH RACE is an action movie, pure and simple. It is the closest thing to being a video game without the console. For instance, as the racers move about the course, they are able to drive over icons that enable weapons or other gizmos in their cars, literally just like a video game. The dialogue of the racers is about video game level as well. Many racers are introduced simply so viewers recognize them when they are subsequently killed.
The movie never tries to be more than what it is. In that sense, the filmmakers have achieved their purpose of making a violent “high octane” race movie. There are a number of illogical scenes involving who has an explosion detonator and how did they time things out so perfectly. But, again, this is not intended to be a movie that provokes any thinking.
There is much foul language to go around. However, there is only brief nudity when the male prisoner enters the facility and showers. While there are women with low cut outfits, there are no actual scenes of sex, though a couple is about to start when interrupted by their crying baby.
The violence is, obviously, the biggest concern. There are dozens of people killed in car crashes and car explosions. As the gladiator race continues, the drivers are “x’d out” until there are only two left. Killing and human life is taken very much for granted. There are many fistfights, usually with big, heavy objects. Machine guns fire constantly, and there are many isolated shots of characters being killed, including a man being decapitated by a passing car (which is re-played three times).
The movie’s hero is motivated by the desire to be free and get his daughter back, which is noble. Also, when he is freed, he encourages a fellow ex-con to pursue the life of an honest man. However, he is also motivated by a desire to get revenge on the people who killed his wife and framed him.
DEATH RACE requires much discernment. Its callous violence, foul language and revenge theme are excessive.
Watching DEATH RACE is the closest thing to playing a video game. For instance, while racing along the course, the drivers are able to drive over icons that enable weapons and other gizmos in their cars, just like a video game. Dozens of people are killed in car crashes and explosions. Killing and human life is taken very much for granted. There are many isolated shots of characters being killed, including a man being decapitated by a passing car, which is replayed three times. The violence and foul language in DEATH RACE are excessive and offensive.