Death Race 2 (Unrated) (Blu-ray)

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Rating: R and Unrated

Starring:
Luke Goss as Carl ‘Luke’ Lucas
Lauren Cohan as September Jones
Sean Bean as Markus Kane
Ving Rhames as Weyland
Tanit Phoenix as Katrina Banks
Patrick Lyster as Warden Parks
Frederick Koehler as Lists
Robin Shou as 14K
Danny Trejo as Goldberg
Joe Vaz as Rocco

Directed by Roel Reiné

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Director’s Montage
The Race Begins: The Evolution of the Death Race
Cheating Death: The Stunts of Death Race 2
Fast Cars and Firearms: The Cars of Death Race 2
Feature Commentary with Director Roel Reiné

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: Rated – 1 Hour 39 Minutes, Unrated – 1 Hour 41 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“In the world’s most dangerous prison, a new game is born: Death Race. The rules of this adrenaline-fueled blood sport are simple, drive – or die. When repentant convict Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) discovers there’s a price on his head, his only hope is to survive a twisted race against an army of hardened criminals and tricked-out cars.

Also starring Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames, ‘Death Race 2′ tells the explosive story of how the legendary race began. Strap yourself in for an insane thrill-ride!”

“Death Race 2″ is rated R for brutal violence, pervasive Language and some sexual content.

Mini-Review:
What the promos for “Death Race 2″ don’t really tell you is that this is a prequel. It shows how the Death Race was created. It started as a simple hand-to-hand combat game to generate money for the failing Weyland Corporation then was broadened to the full fledged race we see later on. In some respects making a prequel works and in other respects it doesn’t. On the down side we don’t even see the actual Death Race until well into the second half of the film. It’s only then that you get the movie as advertised. But on the positive side, the final 15 minutes of the film have a plot twist that makes you go “Ah-ha! So that’s where they’re going with this!” That payoff makes the movie a bit more worthwhile. I can’t discuss it here without spoiling the movie, but suffice it to say it thoroughly ties this movie in with the 2008 “Death Race.”

Beyond the prequel twist, “Death Race 2″ doesn’t have a lot new to offer. It still has testosterone overloaded fights, big car chases, sexy women (are there no ugly female prisoners?), and gory deaths. It’s more of the same from the first which is either a good thing or a bad thing considering what you thought of “Death Race.” This is a straight-to-DVD release, but I have to say that I think it would have performed well in theaters. I don’t know why they didn’t release it there. A lot worse movies have appeared on the big screen than “Death Race 2.”

Luke Goss is the lead in the film as Carl ‘Luke’ Lucas. His role is a lot like Jason Statham’s in the previous film. He’s a noble soul stuck in the prison who happens to be a good driver and is screwed over by the corrupt prison system. The only difference this round is that he actually did what he was thrown in jail for. He’s an honest-to-goodness bad guy. Goss does a fine job with what he’s given and he comes across as Paul Walker’s older brother or something. Supporting him in the film are Ving Rhames as Weyland, Sean Bean as Markus Kane, and Danny Trejo as Goldberg. These are all fine actors and it’s kind of sad to see them in a straight-to-video film, but I suppose if it was good enough for Joan Allen in the first film, it’s good enough for them.

If you liked the first “Death Race,” then I think you’ll find “Death Race 2″ somewhat worth checking out. It will feel pretty redundant up until the final twist, but stick with it. If you didn’t see the first film or didn’t like it, then this is an obvious ‘pass’ for you.

You’ll find your standard bonus features on the Blu-ray. There are deleted scenes, featurettes on the stunts and cars, and a commentary. There’s also a featurette on ‘The Evolution of the Death Race.’ And if you buy the Blu-ray, you also get a copy of the DVD and a digital copy for portable devices.

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