I must admit to expecting more from Death Race 3: Inferno, the thriller from director Roel Reiné – though I suppose considering the fact that he’s the man behind such gems as Death Race 2 (2010) and Scorpion King 3 (2012) I should have known better. A a critic you should always attempt to be just that, critical – and hopefully in some way constructively. However, where this boring exercise in brutality and inane dialogue is concerned the only advice you can give is not to bother – both on the part of the filmmakers themselves, and as a warning to the would-be viewer not to waste their time.
The notorious convict ‘Frankenstein’ (Luke Goss) has been made an offer he should, but can’t, refuse. As the hero of the legendary ‘Death Race’ competition he has been offered his freedom if he competes in the new version of the road race, set in the unforgiving terrain of South Africa. However this is a race to the death with only the winner left standing – and all the contestants are hellbent on coming out on top, whatever the cost.
Every now and then a film comes along which makes you feel both despair and hope for the film industry in equal measure. Despair that some studio saw fit to throw good money after bad, with a film which is little more than an excuse to fill the screen with one explosion after an other, interspersed with high octane profanities and unnecessarily sadistic and brutal gore. On the other hand it should give you hope in as much as if this can get made, then there’s a chance for us all.
Misguidedly I thought, from the accompanying press release, that this would be some form of Mad Max 3 (1985) pastiche, with hordes of futuristic armour clad vehicles battling it out in a wind swept, desert environment. Instead all you’ve got is a bunch of neanderthals (male and female) intent of blowing up anyone – either their race opponents or innocent bystanders, it doesn’t matter which – who stands in their way as they battle for the ultimate prize of freedom from life imprisonment.
Luke Goss admittedly looks good as the main protagonist who goes under the pseudonym ‘Frankenstein’ (watch it and you’ll understand why he’s called this), and as such gets the film it’s single star rating from this critic. However he’s the best, in fact only, good thing in the film, and when you discover that he doesn’t have an awful to say, you’ll soon realise how bad the rest of the cast are. Goss has had a mixed career in-front of the camera since starring as one half of the hit boy band Bros with his brother Matt in the 1980’s. He has featured in critical hits such as Guillermo Del Torro’s Blade II (2002) and Hell Boy II (2008), but appeared in some pretty forgettable things as well. Unfortunately for all involved Death Race 3: Inferno falls into this latter category.
Goss aside, the film is objectionable on every level – from the violence to the script (or lack of it), as well as its portrayal of the indigenous African people whose towns the race tears through, which does little to dispel the oft held stereotype portrayal of these people in the media or film.
Any association between the Roger Corman classic Death Race 2000 (1975) and this abomination is purely co-incidental, and as such Corman has every right to sue the filmmaker’s. From a viewer’s point-of-view anything would be better than sitting through Death Race 3: Inferno, and as such this is one film to avoid like death itself.