Death Race 2000 is one of those films that still holds up almost 35 years later. It was silly and wondrously preposterous in 1975 and still is today. As a child, this NerdBastard couldn’t get enough Death Race 2000 when it came on television on Saturday afternoons, minus the for television edited bits of nudity and adult stuff. Much later in life, watching the uncut version that starred David Carradine as Frankenstein and Sylvester Stallone as Machine Gun Joe, the movie still had that otherworldly quality of trashy cinema that has captivated this lifelong nerd. The 2008 remake set in a prison was fun, but didn’t even come close to the originals impact. Those that followed were best soon forgotten. Especially now that word is out that legendary director Roger Corman is stepping in to produce the reboot along with updating of the title, Death Race 2050.
Filming has begun in Peru with Malcolm McDowell as the Chairman, Manu Bennett as Frankenstein, along with Burt Grinstead, Marci Miller, Folake Olowofoyeku, Anessa Ramsey, Yancy Butler, and Charlie Farrell. Corman had this to say about Death Race 2050:
This is an amazing opportunity for me and millions of Death Race 2000 fans to experience the intensity, thrills and dark humor of the original, fueled by a terrific young cast, spectacular vehicles and side-splitting action, literally. Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 puts the pedal to the metal to bring this enduring franchise to a whole new level.
Now let’s talk about what might be some concerning bits of this news. G.J. Echternkamp (Frank and Cindy) will direct with Corman and Luis Llosa producing. Echternkamp doesn’t have any other break out directing credits so it’s hard to judge what he’ll bring to Death Race 2050. Hopefully Corman will be a guiding force behind the scenes.
Death Race 2050, won’t be coming to a theater near you either, it’s going direct to Blu-Ray and Video on Demand which should leave a nagging feeling in the back of your head if you are a Death Race fan. The synopsis might help fans feel a little better as it seems to hold true to the original:
In the not-too-distant future, America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government that keeps the masses placated with violent virtual-reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, where a motley assortment of drivers compete in a cross-country road race, scoring points for running down pedestrians and killing each other. The reigning champion and popular favorite is half-man, half-machine Frankenstein — but little does he know he’s taken on a rebel spy as his co-pilot.
Now the flip side of the movie not having a theatrical release is that they can get away with a ton of stuff that might not make it past the studio when trying to bring a movie like this to the big screen. Corman’s direct involvement with the production is heartening and should prove to be a positive factor in the movies filming. If anyone can make a solid movie on a low-budget, it’s Roger Corman.
Are you ready for more Death Race in the form of Death Race 2050? I can’t wait to see the hand grenade…