In the totalitarian future setting of the year 2000, Mr President
has given the people the national sport of the Transcontinental
Road Race. The five main contenders are Calamity Jane Kelly
- Queen of the Road - in The Bull ("My fans can wish me all
the luck they like; if my luck with my lovers gets any better
I'll miss the race entirely."); Swastika Sweetheart - Matilda
The Hun ("Whoever named your car The Bull was only half right.");
Nero The Hero - in The Lion; Machine Gun Joe ("Loved by thousands,
hated by millions.); and the people's favourite, Frankenstein,
who wears a half-mask to hide his horrific injuries. In this
race hit and run isn't a crime, it's a national sport. There's
10 points for women, 40 points for teenagers, 70 points for
toddlers under 12, and 100 points for the over 70s. But the
race isn't the only concern for the drivers. Mrs Payne, leader
of the Army of Resistance against Mr president's state rule,
tries to scupper the race. As the drivers begin to fall, Frankenstein
has to beware the extreme violence of Machine Gun Joe, the
scheming of his own navigator, and the attempt to kill him
- in order to achieve his own ultimate objective...
is a film that can be appreciated on different levels, in
a similar way to the camp 60s series of Batman. Although
this is an 18 certificate, kids would appreciate the idea
of racing drivers running over people for points (certainly
they would see more violence on many computer games), but
when you view this as an adult you realise the whole concept
is very much tongue-in-cheek.
some terrific black humour which is as humorous now as it
would have been then. More so, in fact, because it has a great
sense of nostalgia attached. Euthanasia
Day at the Geriatrics Hospital is a wonderfully sick idea,
especially when Frankenstein steers around them and knocks
down all the watching nurses instead.
more one-liners than you can steer a car at. Even Mr President
gets in on the act when he announces that he suspects the
treacherous French of the sabotage of the great race and national
economy, and adds that the word sabotage was invented by the
the time of this film's release, David Carradine (Frankenstein)
was the star of the piece, being well-known already for playing
Caine, the lead in the popular Kung Fu series; but
only a year or so later Sylvester Stallone's (Machine Gun
Joe) career skyrocketed with Rocky. For contractual
reasons, Stallone's name couldn't be placed above Carradine's
in subsequent marketing, so they have since received joint
star billing for the film.
budget for Death Race 2000 was around the $300,000
mark, which was pitifully low for the time. However, surprisingly,
there are no real shortcomings translated to the screen. Shakespeare
it's not, but it's quirky, it's fun, and it's unarguably one
of the best products to come out of the Roger Corman stable.
This is an adult, live-action Wacky Races. Enjoy it
in the spirit it was meant.
include an Interview with Producer Roger Corman, Trailers,
Posters Gallery, and Biographies.