The Asylum have become famous worldwide for their series of ‘mockbusters’, films with similar titles and plots to big budget studio releases. Amongst their releases are two ‘War of the Worlds’, 100 Million Years BC, Halloween Night and The DaVinci Treasure. Now they have been criticised by a lot of the media and if you surf the web, their films have certainly taken a critcial pasting. However they have their fans – I am one, and look forward to their releases.
Death Racers comes in the wake of Death Race, Paul W.S. Anderson’s big budget remake of Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000 and features Jason Statham and Joan Allen. It received mixed reviews, but certainly delivered on explosions and violence. Not wishing to be left out, The Asylum have brought us Death Racers, starring underground musicians The Insane Clown Posse and Scott Levy – better known to wrestling fans as the incomparable Raven.
The plot is simple and unoriginal: America once again has gone to the dogs and all the criminals are holed up in a massive prison built from the remains of a city. The Reaper (Levy) is America’s most wanted man due to his insistence on poisoning the nation’s water supply with the help of his scary scientist friends. The Governor (overacted brilliantly by Robert Pike Daniel, who basically just shouts his way through the movie) decides to resurrect the ‘Death Race’ for television, and recruits some degenerates….
Playing themselves, The Insane Clown Posse have been imprisoned for their music and are amongst some of the criminals selected for the race. We also have some army type guys, a couple of Suicide Girl wannabes and some gang members. The Governor tells them they must locate The Reaper and bring him back dead or alive. Along the way they can kill whoever they want and for that they get points in the game which will count to their overall total at the end of the contest.
The game begins and is interspersed by commentary and analysis from two of the worst presenters I have ever seen in a film. I don’t know if this is intentional, but in a twisted way they fit quite nicely into the film.
Each team has a vehicle of its choosing, and Clowns decide on an ice cream truck with a selection of nasty attachments. The other teams have different attachments, but I will let you find them out if you decide to get the DVD.
Despite being a low budget production (as are all Asylum titles), we are treated to some real inspired editing in this film, which is scattered with video noise and jump cuts. This works well and gives the movie a somewhat ‘dodgy bootleg’ feel. Unlike Anderson’s film, you are not going to get huge explosions, massive car chases and Statham looking cool. In director Roy Knyrim’s take (he’s a special make up artist, with the Wishmaster films amongst his credits) we get gratuitous nudity, huge amounts of swearing and easily some of the sickest violence I have seen in ages…and I loved it!!!
The Insane Clown Posse (ICP) play their own stage persona and you can clearly see they are having an absolute gas. At every chance they swear, give crude gestures and attack people with their handy hatchets. No one is safe from them, man or woman. The supporting cast are equally as crazy as the clowns and they all dish out equal amounts of violence towards various criminals. The soundtrack (funnily enough by ICP) is just in your face as much as the violence and for someone who doesn’t like rap/hip hop it didn’t grate and fitted the film well.
Now on the minus, the films does look cheap and there is fair bit of recycled material from within the film (same matte shots) and other Asylum productions. Some of the acting is terrible but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed myself for 90 minutes. It isn’t for everyone, but if low budget exploitation is your thing, you can’t go wrong. However if it isn’t, this film will not convert you.
The Asylum are always pretty generous with their extras and this disc is no different. There some trailers of other releases, a ‘making of’ featurette and some bloopers.
Death Racers (region 1) is out now (amazon.com).