Review: Death Race 2 Blu-ray

Death Race 2 DVD boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Roel Reine | CAST: Luke Goss, Sean Bean, Lauren Cohen, Ving Rhames
RELEASE DATE: 1/18/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD $39.98
BONUSES: deleted scenes, commentary, featurette, digital copy on Blu-ray
SPECS: R/UR | 139/141 min. | Action | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish, French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Death Race 2 movie sceneDeath Race 2 has all the cars, babes and explosions to be worthy of being in the franchise, but it’s still in the older movie’s shadow.

The sequel to 2008’s Death Race starring Jason Statham is actually a prequel. In Death Race 2, we learn about the creation of the deadly prison car race as well as one of the characters in the original. It’s told through the story of Carl “Luke” Lucas, played by Luke Goss (Hellboy II: The Golden Army), who’s a ringer for Statham (planned? We think so).

Lucas works for bad guy Sean Bean (Percy Jackson), who gives him a gorgeous orange and black Mustang and sends him off to rob a bank. But, when the robbery goes wrong, Lucas is sent to Terminal Island Prison, where the hit show Death Match is being made. Hosted by a former beauty queen (Lauren Cohan, TV’s The Vampire Diaries), Death Match is the precursor to the Death Race.

The first half of the movie leading up to Death Match’s evolution rolls along pretty well. Tony Giglio’s screenplay won’t be winning any awards, but the story flows ok. But when the Death Race is finally introduced, the audience is asked to take a rather large leap in believability, and from there, the story dwindles.

Still, this an action movie, and director Roel Reine (who directed Scorpion King: Rise From the Dead) serves up loads of action, explosions and fights to keep viewers interested. This movie looks like it was probably one of Universal’s most expensive DVD premiere films, and the money pays off.

The acting isn’t spectacular but fine. The movie features a few familiar faces, including Bean, Ving Rhames (Piranha), Danny Trejo (Machete) and Frederick Koehler (who reprises his role from the earlier Death Race), but the one-dimensional characters aren’t a stretch for these guys.

The Blu-ray advertises the movie as Death Race 2 Unrated, but both an unrated and R-rated version are included on the disc, and the unrated version is only two minutes longer.

On the special features side, there’s a handful of deleted scenes, a montage of deleted sections, a commentary with Reine and three featurettes. Of the short pieces, the best is “Fast Cars and Firearms: The Cars of Death Race 2,” in which the production department gets to proudly show off how they made the bad-ass monsters out of such beauties as the Mustang, a Porsche and others.

“The Race Begins: The Evolution of the Death Race” is your basic making-of featurette, and “Cheating Death: The Stunts of Death Race 2” talks about the, well, stunts. Interestingly, Goss did most of his own, even braving fire.

 

Buy or Rent Death Race 2 Unrated
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.