Genre fans are spoiled. We have it so good; Every time we press play, we can be in for a mind-bending ride that makes us scratch our head the entire way through or we can be welcomed by a film that requires no real thought, yet still offers the purest form of enjoyment. While there is always a time and place for the former, I personally prefer the latter. A perfect example would be Don Michael Paul’s Death Race Beyond Anarchy.
In the not-so-distant future, the world has gone to Hell, with unemployment and crime rates soaring. A containment wall is built to lock up all the worst of the worst criminals away from the rest of society. The only problem with that is, with no real way of controlling those inside, they are free to do whatever they please. It turns out what they please is to pure unadulterated carnage in the form of the deadly tournament, Death Race. In order to gain some control back, the Warden is forced to send a man onto the inside to defeat and kill the leader of the city known as The Sprawl, the one and only Frankenstein.
It still surprises me every time I hear that another film is being released in the Death Race franchise. Then, when I finally end up watching it, my surprise goes away and I completely get it — These movies are damn fun!
Death Race Beyond Anarchy is drab and dreary with a color palette consisting of blacks and greys, broken up only by the color of flesh and blood, which, my friends, are both on display quite a bit throughout the film’s 111 minute runtime. Every other scene is filled with beautiful women and some form of carnage or another. Even still, with all of the brutality this film has to offer, it is really quite beautiful.
The cinematography and set pieces for this film are masterful and I was very impressed with every new scene unfolding before me. The production quality on this film is much higher than I expected, which helped pull me into this depraved world immensely.
Okay, so you are a fan of these films, and you already know what to expect in terms of nudity and gore. What about the actual performances from the cast? I’m happy to say that Death Race Beyond Anarchy features a pretty talented cast who are more than competent to carry on a story of this nature. Veteran actor Danny Glover lends his acting chops to the film, as does the returning Danny Trejo, a personal favorite of mine, and Frederick Koehler, reprising their roles as Goldberg and Lists, respectively. In addition, our black ops infiltrator of The Sprawl is played by Zach McGowan. I am unfamiliar with McGowan’s his previous works, which consist of both television and film, but I enjoyed his portrayal of the strong and silent Connor Gibson. If that wasn’t enough, the masked legendary rider, Frankenstein, is voiced by Nolan North, who has brilliantly lent his voice to some of the most popular video game series of the last decade, including “Uncharted,” “Batman Arkham Aslyum,” and more recently, “God of War.”
Currently, there seem to be a couple of different Death Race worlds running congruently with one another. Last year, we were offered Death Race 2050, which served as a sequel to the original Corman-produced 1975 film. Then of course, we have the 2008 remake that has now spawned three sequels, the latest of which is the one you are reading about right now, Beyond Anarchy. Whichever ones you watch, you are in for a good time. These films are filled with tons of action, explosions, fast cars, gorgeous women, and insane amount of gore — all things needed to get your hearts racing and fists pumping.
If you are looking for a real sophisticated cinematic journey, keep searching because this isn’t for you. If you want to have a good time and see some destruction, look no further! Death Race: Beyond Anarchy will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and On-Demand on October 2 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Be sure to pick up your copy this Tuesday to catch all of the behind the scenes bonus features, including interviews and much more.
I had a ton of fun with this one and give it 4.5 hammer-smashed faces out of 5.