DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO
(R and unrated)
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
By the time a film has reached the third movie in a series – especially if said series has become a staple of direct-to-DVD releases – the fans should be behind it. Seeing Paul W.S. Anderson’s remake “Death Race” might have been a gamble in theaters in 2008, but if you’re renting or buying “Death Race 3: Inferno,” you should have a good idea if it’ll be your kind of movie.
I have a soft spot for Universal’s direct-to-DVD schlock, as it tends to be competently produced and aimed at a core audience. Films like the “Death Race” sequels, the “Mummy” and “Scorpion King” sequels, and last year’s “Werewolf” sort-of-prequel can be a lot of fun for the casual genre viewer.
“Death Race 3: Inferno” brings back many of the actors from the previous films, including Luke Goss in the lead, Ving Rhames as the prison boss and Danny Trejo as the faithful henchman. In this installment, we see Frankenstein (Goss) put in a difficult position again. A new entrepreneur (Dougray Scott) has purchased the prison racing program and is forcing him to throw the race so as to not be released. As the Death Race is moved to South Africa, Frankenstein must trust his pit crew to help him find a way out of this bind.
“Death Race 3: Inferno” has everything that “Death Race” fans are looking for. There are, of course, plenty of car chases, and with gallons of exploding gasoline and lack of a major budget, we’re left seeing real cars blow up in real fireballs. This pleased me to no end, especially considering the roots of “Death Race” in Roger Corman’s low-budget cinema.
The story works fine, and it’s nice to see the slate of familiar characters return. While Goss isn’t as charismatic of a lead as we could have, he works. It’s more fun to watch Rhames, Scott and Trejo chew through their scenes, to be honest.
Still, there’s plenty of action – and plenty of boobs. In fact, this movie has no shame in its exploitation, giving the hot ladies a chance to fight to the death in a scene I jokingly (but somewhat literally) refer to as “Hot Pants and Cleavage Race: Inferno.” Yeah, that’s a selling point right there.
The Blu-ray includes a nice selection of special features. Those that are replicated on the DVD include deleted scenes, a deleted shots montage, a feature commentary with director Roel Renié and the featurette “The Making of Death Race 3: Inferno.”
Additional features exclusive to the Blu-ray include an alternate opening, plus the featurettes “Racing for Death” and “Art Imitating Life: Goldberg,” which spotlights famous character actor Danny Trejo. There’s also access to pocketBLU and BD-Live features. Finally, the entire package comes with UltraViolet streaming capabilities and Digital Copy.