Monday, April 24, 2017

Phil's Cult Classics: DEATH RACE 2050 (2017) from New Horizons Picture/Universal Pictures - April 23, 2017

DEATH RACE 2050 Blu-Ray
Starring Malcolm McDowell, Manu Bennett, Marci Miller, Burt Grinstead, Anessa Ramsey, Yancy Butler, Charlie Farrell, Folake Olowofoyeku, Shanna Olson
Written by G.J. Echternkamp & Matt Yamashita
Cinematography by Juan Durán
Edited by G.J. Echternkamp & Steve Ansell
Produced by Roger Corman, Julie Corman & Lisa Gooding
Directed by G.J. Echternkamp
Production Companies New Horizons Picture & Universal 1440 Entertainment
Released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment

In 1975, producer Roger Corman and director Paul Bartell released a film called DEATH RACE 2000 on an unsuspecting drive-in and grindhouse audience. It went on to became a true cult classic. In 2008, Corman made a deal with Universal Pictures to remake the film, simply entitled DEATH RACE, which eventually led to two direct-to-video sequels. Those films had no resemblance to the original, nor did it have the same premise. It seemed like Hollywood had miss the point yet again and it looked like we would never get a proper sequel. Then the King of the B's himself came up with the brilliant idea of making a true sequel to the original, which excited many fans. The end result was released earlier this year in the form of DEATH RACE 2050. So ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and get ready for one helluva ride!

The film's official synopsis: Legendary filmmaking icon, Roger Corman, is back with his most outrageous film yet in this sensational, action-packed and darkly humorous reboot of the original Death Race 2000! It’s the year 2050 and America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government ruled by The Chairman (Malcolm McDowell). The masses have been brainwashed with violent virtual-reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, in which a motley crew of violent drivers compete in a cross-country road race, scoring points for shamelessly running people over and driving each other off the road. The reigning champion and fan favorite, Frankenstein (Manu Bennett), who’s half-man half-machine, wants to take the crown, but his rebel spy co-pilot threatens his legacy

The original was a perfect blend of dark humor, social and political commentary and pure exploitation madness. The sequel is the same but more in your face, with the dark humor and madness cranked up to ten. The world of tomorrow is nothing more than a corporate owned entity, now known as The United Corporations of America.The biting commentary is painfully relevant, considering our so-called president and his swamp drenched corporate cabinet. So throughout the movie, I found myself laughing and cringing because it's so spot on as to the world we inhabit in.

Original Promotional Poster (2017)
Filmmaker G.J. Echternkamp is relatively new to directing, having made only two other features, a couple of documentaries and a handful of shorts. However, he manages to make a film that just screams, "Look at this crazy shit!" Despite his lack of experience, he makes up with enthusiasm, determination and sheer lunacy. He keeps the camera on the action, which there is plenty of and it's completely off the hook! Kudos to Echternkamp on a job well done! Also, he along with Matt Yamashita wrote the script, so lookout for this guy to become the next big Hollywood action director!

Filing the shoes of Frankenstein this time is Manu Bennett, whom you've seen in THE MARINE, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and THE HOBBIT TRILOGY as Azog. He's also done a lot of television shows such as Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Arrow (as Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke) and the hit MTV series The Shannara Chronicles. He brings his A-game to his character and raises Frankenstein to the level of one bad ass driver! Loved his performance! Actress Marci Miller from Days of our Lives is Frankenstein's navigator Annie Sullivan. Miller is a very beautiful and talented actress and she and Bennett have great on-screen chemistry. Malcolm McDowell does what Malcolm McDowell does best. 'Nuff said! Anessa Ramsey's character Tammy is one of the most vile, racist, batshit crazy chicks I have ever seen in a movie! And the shit she says is fucking hilarious!!

Now I'm sure all you die hard fans of the original want to know is how do the cars look in the movie? They look freaking sweet!! They're just as cool, if not cooler, than the cars from the first film. I don't know who made them, but I want to have one of them! More specifically, I want Frankenstein's car!! And if there's anyway it included Marci Miller and her piercing deep blue eyes, then take all my money now buddy!!

DEATH RACE 2050 is an over the top, tongue-in-check, politically and socially charged, action packed thrill ride that will make you think and cheer for bloodshed!! In this modern day world where movies take themselves way too seriously, it's good to see this kind of movie exist. And it's great to see Roger Corman doing what he does best!! This is exploitation cinema at its finest!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly Recommended!!

DEATH RACE 2050 is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer. The film is also available on iTunes, Redbox, on demand and other streaming services.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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