Thursday, September 17, 2015

Death Race 3: Inferno

A direct sequel to DEATH RACE 2, which revealed the origin of both the Death Race and legendary racer Frankenstein, DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO reunites much of that film’s cast with its director, Roel Reine (PISTOL WHIPPED), as well as writer Tony Giglio (CHAOS). You wouldn’t think there was another story to tell with this premise, and you’d be right. The only substantial difference between DEATH RACE: INFERNO and the previous films is its setting.

Reine takes the Death Race away from the dilapidated prison and into the Kalahari Desert of South Africa, where both direct-to-video sequels were filmed. Thanks to a huge cop out elaborate plastic surgery, Luke Goss doesn’t have to wear the Frankenstein mask he earned from a fiery crash at the end of the last movie. Weyland (Ving Rhames) is out as the owner of the Death Race he created after an even bigger and richer asshole named Niles York (Dougray Scott) takes over his company.

York wants to franchise Death Race, so he sends Carl Lucas aka Frankenstein and his team Katrina (Tanit Phoenix), Lists (Fred Koehler), and Goldberg (Danny Trejo), the world’s last Mexican Jew (“I killed all the others.”) to the maximum security prison in the Kalahari. While opening up the film and exploring the beautiful Kalahari scenery gives DEATH RACE 3 a fresh look, the clumsy Reine’s haphazard coverage of the race leaves the audience confused. The race’s rules are unclear, and it’s difficult to tell who’s winning or losing.

The SAW sequels were an obvious influence on the ending, which is designed to lead into DEATH RACE. It’s easy to see a FAST AND THE FURIOUS influence too. Reine’s dedication to practical effects — fire gags, car stunts, squibs — is admirable and give his DEATH RACE sequels a boost over a lot of other direct-to-video action movies.

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