Death Race 2000
Roger Corman for New World
directed by Paul Bartel
starring David Carradine, Simone Griffeth, Sylvester Stallone, Mary Woronov, Roberta Collins, Martin Kove, Louisa Moritz, Don Steele, Joyce Jameson, Carle Bensen, Sandy Mccallum, Paul Laurence, Harriet Medin, Vince Trankina, Bill Morey, Fred Grandy, William Shephard, Leslie McRae, Wendy Bartel, Jack Favorite, Sandy Ignon, John Landis, Darla McDonnell, Roger Rook, Paul Bartel
screenplay by Robert Thom, Charles B.Griffith, based on a story by Ib Melchior, music by Paul Chihara
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In the (not too distant) future - the year 2000 to be exact - the USA
has been turned into a totalitarian stateruled from abroad by the
President (Sandy McCallum) and held together mainly by the new
national sport, transcontinental racing, in which hit-and-run accidents
are no longer treated as felonies but make the racers extra points.
Frankenstein (David Carradine) is the biggest of the transcontinental
racers, which is why a rebel group led by Thomasina Paine (Harriet Medin)
plans to kidnap him while killing all his rival racers (including Mary
Woronov, Roberta Collins, Martin Kove) and to that end supply him with a
navigator, Annie (Simone Griffeth), who is really one of them and who
lures him into one trap after the other ... but all to no avail, for one
Frankenstein is the perfect driver, secondly he has long looked through
her disguise, and apart from that, during the race the two of them have
actually become lovers. But what's even more important is that
Frankenstein acutally wants to win the race because only this way he can
get a chance to shake the hand of the president ... and blow him up in the
Thing is though, during the final duel with his fiercest rival Machine
Joe Viterbo (Sylvester Stllone), Frankenstein loses his handgrenade
(actually he uses it to blow up his opponent's car) and now has to resort
to plan B - which actually is just running the president over, very much
like in the race ...
In the end, Frankenstein himself has become president and Annie his
first lady, and the USA is to become a democracy once again ... and
whoever opposes democracy, is just run over by the new president himself.
Quite simply put, Death Race 2000 is hilarious, a great blend of
political satire, science fiction and action motives and mindless
carcrashes and explosions that is as intelligent as it is funny and
fast-moving. Ironically, the film looks like a parody of other car crash
films like the Smokey and the Bandit and the Cannonball
Run series, Grand Theft Auto and even Road Warrior -
but was made before all of these films - and the genre should
probalby have ended right then and there when it was still riding high.
The one movie Death Race 2000 is reminiscent though that was made
before it is The Cars that Ate
Paris, which doesn't make Death Race 2000 any less
exceptional. In a way, this should have been the car crash movie to end
all car crash movies - but unfortunately, it wasn't.