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Death Race 2000

April 26, 2007

Look at those awesome cars.


Death Race 2000 has perhaps the best cast ever assembled for a B movie. David Carradine and a yet unknown Sylvester Stallone lead a cast which includes lesser names but with familiar faces like Simone Griffeth, Mary Woronov, and Martin Kove. As strong as the cast is in relation to the film’s quality, it’s obviously still fairly weak in the grand scheme of things.

Cast = 10


The soundtrack for Death Race 2000 was like a time capsule for the lame sound of the 70s as it was released in 1975, and served as a knockout punch when combined with some amazing, period special effects and a crazy storyline.

Soundtrack = 6

Quote/Catch Phrase

There were a couple of memorable lines. Mr. President, the leader of the United States, has a great line. “Our enemy, the French, have destroyed nearly all our gallant racers. Just as they have crippled our once-great economy, and wrecked our telephone system.”

There’s also a masterpiece from Machine Gun Joe, “You know Myra, some people might think you’re cute, but me, I think you’re one very large baked potato.” I still have no clue as to what that means.

Quote/Catch Phrase = 13


In the year 2000, the United States has become a society fueled by violence and mind-numbing reality entertainment. Gratuitous nudity and the inane violence is broadcast across the nation by a group of degenerate reporters. So far the movie pegged the future just right. The next bit is where it gets a little fuzzy.

Five drivers take part in the Death Race across America, scoring points by killing pedestrians. The very old and the very young are worth the most points. Frakenstein, played by David Carradine, is going for his record third win, but he has his competition. Before Rocky, before Rambo, before Judge Dredd, Sylvester Stallone was Machine Gun Joe Viterbo. Forever in the extensive shadow of Frankenstein’s excellence, Machine Gun Joe wants his time to shine. Meanwhile, a group of freedom fighters lead by their unwavering leader, Thomasina Paine, try to restore freedom and human dignity to the beleaguered nation.

A dispute arises in the resistance, and the more radical sect starts to eliminate the contestants in the race. One by one the drivers suffer an inglorious fate. Frankenstein’s lovely navigator, the great-granddaughter of Thomasina Paine, attempts to lead him into a trap so that the more peaceful arm of the resistance can hold him hostage and use him as a bargaining tool with Mr. President. Mr. President rules the nation with an iron fist, and keeps the people in line with his brown-suited secret police. They spin the deaths of the racers by saying the French are responsible.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Frankenstein plans on assassinating Mr. President at the conclusion of the race by devious means. His hand has a surgically embedded grenade. That’s right, a hand grenade!

Unfortunately, Machine Gun Joe has other plans, and Frankenstein’s navigator is forced to use the hand grenade on Machine Gun Joe. When they finally arrive at the finish line in New Los Angeles, she dresses as Frankenstein and approaches Mr. President with what appears to be a pocket knife with a blade an inch and half long. Before she can give Mr. President a nasty paper cut, her desperate great-grandmother shoots who she thinks is Frankenstein. Why she didn’t shoot Mr. President remains a mystery.

With their plan in ruins, the real, and the very naked, Frankenstein drives the car into the stand and kills Mr. President.

Frankenstein marries his navigator who shows no ill effects from being shot, he becomes the new president of the United States, makes New Los Angeles the capital, appoints Thomasina Paine, the unshakable patriot, the head of security; and puts an end to the Death Race. When a reporter says that the race was an embodiment of all that was American, i.e., the violence, the newly married couple runs him over and drives off into the sunset.

Why do movies have such extravagant views of the future? Of all the films set in the future the only one that seems to have made a realistic stab at what life would be like is Children of Men. Then again, I suppose the future might be drastically different than the one depicted in that film, as it made the future only slightly different than today. Death Race 2000 made St. Louis look like old L.A. with huge skyscrapers, and every room seemed to be the size of an average-sized house. Oh, and the whole running people over for points thing is a bit hard to swallow too. Then again, it seems people will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame these days. Just look at American Idol.

Story = 16


Throughout the movie we are treated to impressively bad special effects like the cherry cool-aid blood and poorly painted backdrops, and a notably pathetic fight scene between the men that would go on to play Caine and Rocky. However, several scenes are actually intentionally quite funny. A hospital staff sets their geriatric patients in the road to help Frankenstein earn a bunch of easy points. Frankenstein thanks the doctors and nurses by running them over instead. It’s gems like these that make you want to come back for more. The fact that St. Louis is the first pit stop doesn’t hurt either.

Rewatchability = 11

Total Score = 56

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2007 11:34 am

    so how does your rating system work? 20 in each category, making the total possible score of 100?

  2. April 27, 2007 12:56 pm


    This film didn’t do so hot, but I actually liked it. It was so pathetic it was awesome. Apparently, there is a sequel/remake in the works from the guy that made Resident Evil, and so far only Jason Statham has been listed in the cast.

    I’m not sure how I feel about that. If they make it a serious analysis of society’s degradation then it might be OK, but there really isn’t much sense in going campy with it as it’s already been done. We shall see.


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