What do you get if you do a remake of a Roger Corman B-Movie 30 years later ? Right, a big budget B-Movie. Even more, if the director is the game adaption and bombing artist Paul W. S. Anderson. Celebrated for his debut SHOPPING in 1994 as a new hope of direction and earning his first spurs in Hollywood with MORTAL COMBAT one year later, he’s got a smacked head for his third movie EVENT HORIZON. Too tough, too rough for the MPAA and could only be released with massive cuttings. Till then the starting date was postponed several times, what did not enure to the success of the movie. Even though EVENT HORIZON is in the fans good books until now, it took Anderson a long time to recover from this failure. And with the next flick it’s got even worse: With approximately 80 million Dollars production costs the Sci-Fi-Actioner SOLDIER bombed. Not even 10 millions in the US box-office results it became one of the biggest flops of the decade. It took 4 years, until an executive producer remembers Anderson and gave him a chance. No one less than Bernd Eichinger charged him for the direction of RESIDENT EVIL. And guess what, Anderson however succeeded in shooting profitable movies. They must not be too ambitious and bring their followings. In 2004 he’s gone one better with the first ALIEN VS. PREDATOR and substantiated his claim for the throne as the new trash king. What he does best, is cooking a good looking, colorful, pleasant and extremely blasting soup out of miserable screenplays. And this he also proofs with DEATH RACE!
With Jason Statham the perfect cast in the leading role, the respectable Joan Allen as the bad guy and with Tyrese Gibson as charismatic counterpart the movie comes up to the expectations. Here again comes a guy movie where the girls better stay out. Brute action, hot chicks (Natalie Martinez, oh lala), phat cars and cool oneliner. Boy oh boy, I had a good time. A no-brainer at its finest, you become a child again with bright eyes that’s what I can tell you. Apart from that the bag filled with clichés is wide open, alot of spoiling from other jail movies, the wise old occupant, the mentally disabled appearing but cuddly sidekick who is technically on top, the white brotherhood, homophile tendencies....everything seen by now. Additionally it is made big money with the prisoners, who are allowed to do sports and adding to the enrichment of the evil managment. This mixture is served tasty with a great visual impact so that there is no time to be bored. The effects, with few exceptions, are first class, the car stunts spectacular (no CGI models, but real hot metal rods!) and the few gore scenes are quite rough! For those, who want to switch off their brains for some time here is my recommendation: Watch it, watch it now, it’s a MUST SEE !
Some words to the present versions: Just like DOOMSDAY both versions the theatrical (rated R) and the unrated are released on one DVD in the US. Thereby in the unrated version some action sequences were added, some scenes extended and filled with dialogs. As conclusion one can say that the rated R version is suitable by all means, the unrated version not a complete waste of time. And because they are both on one disk – so what the fan hits it.
"Ok, Cocksucker. Fuck with me and we'll see who shits on the sidewalk"
(Hennessey pissed off)
3 more shots of the cops striking down the workers.
( 2 sec. )
More shots of the fight. Ames has to taste the baton several times, until he can grasp it and beats the cop down on the floor. He plants a stroke against his helmet, turns around and beats another cop down to the floor. Afterwards he provocatively drew himself up before the forward moving cops.
( 18 sec. )
Only in the rated R before the shot of the factory there are some alternate bird’s eye view settings of the fight.
( 5 sec. )
Before he was given a shower, guard Ulrich issue an order: "Move it !", and then Ames slowly lingers through the hallway.
( 11 sec. )
In the unrated Ames gets dusted with talcum powder, counter cuts on Ulrich, Ames stands up covered with his sweater throwing an angry look at the guy. As an alternative there is a close-up view on Ames naked chest in the rated R version.
( 19 sec. )
Also alternative is the following shot of Ulrich taking off his gloves. A running time difference does not come off.
Again alternative frame material. When Ames is brought back to his cell only in the unrated version his undesirable acquaintance with his cellmates is shown. There are three of them looking ruttish at him. While leaving, the guard hears fighting noises and turns around grinning. When he looks into the cell, three unconscious occupants lying on the ground and Ames facing Ulrich:"They slipped !"( 41 sec. )
In the rated R however there is only one close-up view of his face. ( 3 sec. )
Total difference: ( 38 sec. )
Ames is accompanied by the chief guard to Hennessey where he receives a tongue-lashing. Never provoke the drivers, because that will antagonize the guards.
( 29 sec. )
At Hennessey’s wish, demanding to know Ames decision until Friday, there is more dialog in the unrated version. She points out, that if he refuses she would offer it to somebody else, someone with more enthusiasm. And Ames would be isolated. Responding to his question, if she thinks he could be blackmailed she only mentions Pachenkos name and what he would think finding Ames in the isolation confinement (30 sec.). From "You're a skilled driver..." on both versions are again synchronized however with alternate shots.
( 30 sec. )
After Ames gazed at the cigarette lighter there are some more settings and dialogs in the unrated version. There is a short talk about Frankenstein‘s race statistics and his possible fifth win. Only in the rated R therefore the previous setting runs 28 SF longer.
( 25 sec. )
The "Grim-Reaper" is introduced within some more phrases. There is a hint at him as Hennessey’s informer.
( 5 sec. )
Before Ames drives over the shields a little chitchat goes on between him and Case. She tells him about the functionality of some switches and he responds that he already knew ("I've seen this race before").
(14 sec. )
After Hennessy got the total of attendances, there is another short action packed sequence of the race. Ames weapons fail, Case pulls herself out of the window and starts repairing the machine gun at full speed. Thereby she’s fired from another co- driver. Finally she succeeds with repairing the gun and falls back into the car.
( 81 sec. )
In the rated R version there is an insert onto Machine-Gun-Joe who says „I’m back“ right before the guns start shooting. This shot happened in the earlier added scene of the unrated version.
( 2 sec. )
After the race and the close-up view of „Frank’s“ head there is a lack of a short cut scene of Ames and Ulrich and some dialogs. Ulrich pulls Ames‘s leg because he was last one arriving. But he should cool down, everyone who loose will come back into the race.
( 16 sec. )
Ames rams a piece of metal into the leg of this brotherhood guy a little longer.
( 0,5 sec. )
When Ames dashes the guy’s head against the ambos this is a little bloodier in the unrated version.
Before Ames is getting at Pachenko with the tailpipe there is a short flashback to the night of the murder. It’s getting clear now that Ulrich drove the jailbird to the crime scene.
( 19 sec. )
On the run. Case is asking Ames for his real name. Short conversation.
( 22 sec. )
From „Hope you’ve got a plan…“ on, both versions run with different shots.
Rated R = ( 4 sec. )
Unrated = ( 7 sec. )
Total difference: ( 3 sec. )
Alternative frame material:
When Case is driving along, there are different and also other additional shots and one sentence from Machine-Gun-Joe: "Looks we've got company!"
Unrated: ( 5,5 sec. )
Rated R : ( 1 sec. )
Total difference: ( 4,5 Sek. )
Alternative frame material:
And another additional shot of the approaching car.
( 2 sec. )
The take of Ames‘s monolog at the end runs a little longer. Besides, the counter cut with him and his child starts earlier.
( 10 sec. )
The final take starts earlier in the unrated version.
( 1 sec. )
And runs a little longer.
( 3 sec. )