Prime Video movie of the day: Death Race sees Jason Statham go dystopia in an action-packed smash-up.

Prime Video movie of the day: Death Race sees Jason Statham go dystopia in an action-packed smash-up.

Death Race has been described as “mindless” and “violent”, and that’s meant as a criticism. But if you’re a fan of high-octane action movies, mindless violence might be just the thing you’re looking to stream on Prime Video. And few actors do mindless violence as well as Jason Statham, who gets the lead role here.

Statham plays three-time speedway champion Jensen Ames who finds himself locked up in the country’s toughest prison for – wait for it – a crime he didn’t commit. Facing life in a jail so grim it could be an English holiday destination, Ames’ future looks bleak until the warden gives him a choice: rot in jail forever, or race in the ‘Death Race’ and win his freedom. And let’s face it, with a name like Death Race we’re not talking Mario Kart here.

Death Race is big, bad and oddly brilliant
Death Race has been described as a remake of the violent, nihilistic mid-70s movie of (almost) the same name, Death Race 2000, but writer and director Paul WS Anderson has said it’s more of a prequel. But it shares the same bleak sensibility and violent approach: the vehicles in this race are heavily armed and the drivers aren’t scared of causing complete carnage.

To say that Death Race divided the critics would be an understatement. Many reviewers absolutely hated it: Marcianne Miller of the NC Bold Life said that it was “so relentlessly sadistic, so grim, so basically without any redeeming human value that even a race fan like me ended up turned off by the so-called ‘ultimate in auto carnage’.” But The Age said it was “a must-see for petrolheads and cineastes alike”. Maybe that’s an Australian Mad Max thing, because the same country’s Daily Telegraph said that “petrolheads and gorehounds, this backfiring blast of cinematic carbon monoxide is your film of the year”.

Lots of reviews said that the film is basically ideal for teenage boys, with the Daily Mirror saying that “Anderson serves up an unashamedly guilty pleasure that hits every note, particularly when the racing starts.” And Total Film offered some good advice: “Banish all memories of the original and you’ll find this a slick throwback in the Doomsday mould. Tearing across the screen with all guns blazing, it’s disposable, enjoyable trash.”

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