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Death Race
Category Action , Sci-Fi
Year: 2008
Time: 111 minutes
Production: Universal Pictures
Director: Paul W.S.Anderson
Cast:
Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Natalie Martinez, Joan Allen, Ian McShane
MPAA R / UK15
Our Rating 7/10
Watchability 9/10
Contributed by Jordan Taylor
Tag-line Get ready for a killer ride.
 
Plot:

In the year 2012 the US economy has collapsed and overcrowded prisons are now controlled by private firms for profit. Just like gladitorial combats in Ancient Rome where slaves would fight to win their freedom, Warden Hennessey (Joan Allen) manages an event on Terminal Island known as the Death Race - a 3 stage racing event, granting freedom for drivers who pick up 5 checkered flags.
  Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) is a new inmate at Terminal Island, wrongfully accused for the murder of his wife, and after a fight with the notorious Brotherhood gang is offered an opportunity by Hennessey to take the role of Frankenstein - a popular, masked, 4-time winner who died from injuries in his last race. If he refuses, he will serve the rest of his sentence in solitude.

 
So, how does it end?

Ames figures out that Hennessey arranged for the murder of his wife, using Pachenko and the guard to do the dirty work.

For the final stage, the only two teams remaining are Ames & Chase(Natalie Martinez) and Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson) with his new navigator.
  Before the race, Joe figures out that Ames is driving as Frank since recognising his voice over the radio in stage 2 when they defeated the dreadnought together. Ames realises that no driver will ever win 5 races, so meets with Joe for a chat.
  The prison guard plants a bomb under Ames' car.

In the race both teams go for it - Ames pulls out in front, but Hennessey disables the power-ups when he drives over, giving them instead to Machine Gun Joe. Joe wastes no time peppering 'the tombstone' with fire.
  Ames hopes to get the next shield power-up, but Joe takes it out with a missile.
  Ames releases the tombstone, but it misses Joe.
  Joe gives Ames warning over the radio, and then fires 3 missiles - Ames dodges, the missiles take out a wall surrounding the track ... and both cars make a run for it.

They head over the bridge, chased by scores of police cars, until Chase releases a fuel tank which erupts and stops the pursuit. Joe's navigator is shot as they smash through a gate.
  With choppers overhead, they split up - but the helicopters follow 'Frank'. Ames dives out discreetly. Chase keeps driving but is stopped a little further on - she gets out wearing Frank's suit and mask.

Ames and Joe meet up, jump on a train and get away, planning to head down to Florida, but first Ames must find his daughter.

Six months later, we see that they have moved down to Mexico (too much 'heat' in Miami??), fixing cars for an honest living.  A Mustang tears up the yard, and out steps Chase, recently released and happy to be back with the boys.

 
Notes
If you get over the comedy MarioKart-style power-ups, it's actually a pretty good movie!
 
Comments

There aren't too many movies where the main characters escape from prison and get away with it ... except of course Shawshank -- which features a white dude, framed for the murder of his wife, and an African-American who is guilty of murder, but a reformed character at the end, and the evil controlling Governor dies so they are safe from a revenge mission ......

Does Jensen have a Rita Hayworth poster hidden away somewhere as a back-up plan?!

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