'Death Race 3: Inferno' is the third film in the 'Death Race' franchise made famous on infamous once again by Paul W.S. Anderson. And it's the 2nd prequel in the franchise that follows part 2 and leads up to the first film that starred Jason Statham. You still with me? If you're new to Death Race, this particular universe was made famous by Roger Corman in 'Death Race 2000', and now lives strong on direct-to-video releases. None of these films were really any good, however the first two out of this recent renewal were big, stupid fun action films. The type of movies you can watch with your friends at midnight and play drinking games to. However, that is not the case with Part 3, as its filmmaking, dialogue, editing, and action scenes all fall below the level of entertaining into a dull boring pit of frustration.
This flick picks up a couple of years after part 2, with convict Carl Lucas aka Frankenstein (Luke Goss) one inch closer to his freedom as he has to win one more Death Race. This time, the race is in the deserts of South Africa with much more sinister forces trying to stop him at every turn. All of the vehicles have tons of giant guns and are reinforced with strong metal to help in the killing of the participants. As Frankenstein is driving for his life and freedom he is also protecting his amazing pit crew Goldberg (Danny Trejo) and Lists (Fred Koehler), and his navigator Katrina (Tanit Phoenix) from all of his opponents executives who put on this Death Race. Frankenstein is also trying to destroy the director of Death race Niles York (Dougray Scott) as he is on his vicious journey.
The above plot line seems like it would hit gold if done properly, however this is not the case. I expected a 'Twisted Metal' type of fun here and there, but I didn't even get that. The story goes nowhere fast, as it takes a more than 30 minutes to get to any sort of racing. I could not make any connection with any of the characters, and their dialogue was completely laughable and was mostly phoned in by the actors or you could tell they were literally reading lines from cue cards. But that is to be expected with a movie like this right? I thought so, as I hoped for some intense action scenes.
Unfortunately the action scenes were some of the worst I've seen since 'Wrath of the Titans'. The editing of the action in 'Death Race 3' is horrific. There are very quick cuts, jerky camera movements, and so many rapid edits and closeups, that even Michael Bay would have a fit. With these types of edits, it was very difficult to see and know what was actually happening in the film, especially during the most intense moments. Some might actually feel a bit dizzy watching this, as it cuts much too quickly from shot to shot. This took me out of the film completely as I couldn't follow what was happening on screen because I couldn't actually see the carnage.
Goss, Trejo, and Ving Rhames do an all right job with the script they were given, however it comes off as just passable for any type of job. But these actors have such a screen presence that I actually enjoyed watching them in this horrible movie, while the others might as well find other jobs. The director had a difficult time creating a flow to the story as we see that the movie goes nowhere, and when the race starts, it still fails to get off its feet. Instead, we get an uninteresting, non-suspenseful action film with big cars with big guns and a hot model who brandishes a flame thrower from time to time with no rhyme or reason to any character or story.
'Death Race 3: Inferno' comes with an interesting 1080p HD transfer and has a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
The film itself is not a pretty site to begin with, and Reine uses some editing effects to make his glossy digital video look a bit dirtier to give it an almost grindhouse look of sorts. However, the HD transfer does look satisfying enough. The colors are mostly lifeless besides the yellows and reds, which look pretty great and the detail is very sharp and defined as you can make out quite a bit of imperfections on the actors and objects. The black levels are fairly deep, but are at times soft. I did not notice any edge enhancement or aliasing, however there was a tiny bit of artifacting, but nothing to really complain about with this type of film to which anyone will truly notice.
This video presentation does the job just enough.
I was blown away by this disc's lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. I might have even had to re hang some framed art from falling off the wall, due to the ferociously loud audio.
My entire sound system got such an intense workout from this audio mix, that it needed to breathe for a few days. No matter which speaker it is, tons of sound will fly out of it. The dialogue is crystal clear surprisingly and uses all the surrounds. It's as if all of the dialogue, ambient noises, and sound effects were just thrown into every speaker and turned to 11 for the entire duration of the film.
The walls shook, the bass packed a powerful punch, and each piece of audio just shouted through all of the speakers. It was intense.
'Death Race 3: Inferno' as a film is pretty awful on all levels. I was hoping for some stupid fun action scenes here and there, but they never came. I think that was due to poor directing and editing. However the video is decent and the audio is out of this world. The extras were actually decent as well. If you're a fan of the franchise, you might enjoy this, however if you're not, I'd consider renting first then making your decision.