If you’ve seen any of the Death Race films then you’ll know what to expect out of this one. For those who haven’t, there’s hot chicks, manly men, big explosions and plenty of blood and guts. Death Race 3: Inferno is pure b-movie fun. The first thirty minutes are a bit slow, we cover back-story from the series second film and reintroduce Lucas’ pit team. Plus there’s all that Weyland Corporation takeover stuff. But once we’re beyond that and into the South African prison things heat up quick.
Director Roel Reine returns for this third installment with Paul W.S. Anderson producing and Tony Giglio writing. Reine’s lively camera moves add to the production value and make this lower budgeted flick seem like a higher budgeted affair. At times though there’s a sea sickness effect to an always moving camera and I felt as if the images were swimming in my head. I know Reine likes to get in there with handheld and dolly shots but it becomes way too self indulgent and a stationary tripod every once in awhile isn’t a bad thing. Regardless of that small shortcoming he more than makes up for it in handling the action. This is where Reine excels and how he’s been able to move up into the top echelon of direct to video directors.
This is definitely Anderson’s straight to video franchise (Resident Evil being his theatrical franchise) and they have set this up so they can keep them coming if they decide. Although there would possibly be a major cast change, which is unfortunate as this is a great ensemble. Luke Goss as the hero Frankenstein is your standard tight lipped bad-ass. Tanit Phoenix as Frankenstein’s beautiful navigator Katrina Banks is strong yet fragile. And of course the pit crew of Danny Trejo as the mechanic Goldberg and Fred Koehler as the ever strange yet brilliant Lists. I could see this idea adapted to a television series as easily as it’s been franchised in these movies.
Even with all the fun there are moments where things don’t make sense. Some of the editing of the racing makes it hard to tell who’s in front of and behind who. There’s also a great moment in which Katrina is mopping the floors of the prison, but it’s been shown that the floors of the mine are covered in about one to two inches of water. She’s mopping outside Frankenstein’s cell and he’s literally standing in a small pond.
If high octane action featuring explosions and bloody kills decorated with gorgeous women sounds like a good time to you then definitely check out Death Race 3: Inferno.
Director: Roel Reine
Stars: Luke Goss, Tanit Phoenix, Dougray Scott