8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Death Race 2000,
This review is from: Death Race 2000 [DVD]  [US Import] (DVD)
Death Race 2000 was recommended to me by a friend who said that it was a similar film to Rollerball. It is not similar at all, apart from the emotionally cold distopian setting and a desensitised, almost comic, attitude to extreme violence. Rollerball is a dark masterpiece, DR2000 is a fun throwaway classic. The film is very amateurishly made, but that's most of it's charm.
The setting of DR2000 is a futuristic society in the year 2000. Mr President keeps the emotionally cold population of America happy by running the Annual Transcontinental Death Race across America. Champions Frankenstein, Machine Gun Joe Viterbo (young Sylvester Stallone) and Calamity Jane compete to acquire the most points and win the game. Meanwhile rebel forces try to sabotage the race and destroy the president's rein. It's far too clumsy to work as a social satire, but it's still a very memorable and enjoyable film. DR2000 has been frequently compared to an adult version of Wacky Races, and it's easy to see why. You get ludicrous characters with silly names driving sillier cars, big explosions, and bad acting. Some parts seem to be stolen directly from a Roadrunner cartoon.
Death Race 2000 is one of the best exploitation films of the 1970's. The horrifying idea of running over pedestrians for points has now passed into legend, and the whole high camp look of this film - the unreal bright red paint for blood, the 70's porn funk soundtrack, the sped up shots of cars fitted with horns, spikes and go faster stripes rushing past the camera make this the greatest B movie ever made. It's not in the least subtle, but it's excellent entertainment, and I will never tire of watching this film. At only 78 minutes long it's a great movie to stick on with friends while waiting to go out and get some good laughs, without outstaying it's welcome. If you want thoughtful sci fi satire - steer clear. However if you enjoy entertaining 1970's sci fi films like Westworld, or the Omega Man, or if you want some dumb 1970's low budget thrills then you can't go wrong with Death Race 2000.