I love press releases. Especially for movies going direct to video. Especially for movies that continue stories that didn’t light the world on fire the first time. Especially for movies that feature no one from the original. Especially for Death Race prequels.
Which is why yesterday was a delight. Because we got a press release for a direct to video continuation of Death Race featuring no one from the original. And a prequel to boot! I kid but the cast of this one does intrigue.
Sean Bean, Ving Rhames, Luke Goss, Danny Trejo. You could do a lot worse.
In fact, the first film didn’t really need Jason Statham as much as I like him. It’s people in cars decimating other people in cars. It’s jailhouse politics and tenuous allegiances. It’s barely a B film even at its best, which is fine since we need a percentage of those films in our theatrical diet. So, what we get is a prequel. On video. I’ll probably watch it and not even feel guilty about it.
But just ponder for a moment how good Death Race could have been if say Paul Verhoeven did it.
The press release:
One Race, Three Days and 20,000 Rounds of Ammo
PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR DEATH RACE 2BEGINS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Universal City, California, March 1, 2010 – Start your engines…and load your weapons. The explosive, all-new high-octane Death Race 2 began principal photography on February 13, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. The spectacular prequel to Paul W.S. Anderson’s audacious re-imagining of the Roger Corman cult classic stars Luke Goss (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army), Ving Rhames (Con Air, Pulp Fiction), Sean Bean (National Treasure, Lord of the Rings trilogy), Danny Trejo (Planet Terror, “Burn Notice”), Frederick Koehler (“Oz,” “Touching Evil”) and Lauren Cohan (“Supernatural”) and promises even more outrageously outfitted muscle cars and death-defying stunts in a deadly driving competition. Director Roel Reiné (The Marine 2, The Lost Tribe) takes the helm of the adrenaline-fueled chronicle of Frankenstein, the greatest Death Race driver of all time, in an all-out thrill ride through a dystopian future.
The screenplay is by Tony Giglio (Chaos), from a story by Paul W.S. Anderson. A top-flight production team has also been assembled, including director of photography John McKay, production designer Johnny Breedt, editor Josh Galvin and costume designer Moira Meyer.
The latest in the hugely successful line of DVD Originals™ from Universal Studios Home Entertainment Productions, Death Race 2 is produced by Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt and executive produced by Paula Wagner and Mike Elliott. Death Race 2 is an official South African/German Co-Production, produced in South Africa by Universal Pictures Productions GmbH and Moonlighting Death Race Films C.C. and co-produced by Genevieve Hofmeyr and Ralph Tuebben.
Since its introduction in 2005, Universal’s extensive DVD Originals™ slate of new live-action and animated content has dominated sales charts, scored impressive ratings on television network and cable outlets, performed successfully in multi-international markets and helped to shape the made-for-DVD arena. The high profile string of hits includes multiple installments of the powerhouse Bring It On and American Pie franchises as well as the epic saga Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior and most recently the explosive action release, Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball.
Death Race 2 takes place in the very near future, as the United States economy begins to decline and violent crime starts to spiral out of control. To contain the growing criminal population, a vast network of for-profit, private prisons springs up, creating a lawless subculture ruled by gangs, cold-blooded killers and sociopaths. The worst of these prisons is Terminal Island. Convicted cop-killer Carl Lucas arrives on the Island to serve his life sentence just as ruthlessly ambitious television personality September Jones launches the ultimate reality show, Death Race. A brutal prison yard demolition derby that pits prisoners against each other in steel reinforced, heavily armed vehicles, Death Race offers the winner the ultimate prize: freedom — if he can survive to enjoy it. When Lucas signs up to be a driver, the stage is set for the birth of a legendary racer.