A not-bad direct-to-video action flick that could serve as a prequel to both the original Death Race 2000 and Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2008 remake, Death Race 2 chronicles the origins of the deadly Death Race game as well as its first champion driver, the masked man known as “Frankenstein.” Luke Goss (who you think would’ve had more of a career after playing the head Reaper in Blade II) plays Carl ‘Luke’ Lucas, a getaway driver who gets sent to Terminal Island, a prison which hosts Death Match, a televised pay-per-view competition where two convicts are forced to fight to the death or submission. By the end of the second act, Death Match will have been transformed into Death Race and Luke will have been turned into Frankenstein, the driver of Frankenstein’s Monster, a five-speed Ford Mustang armed with dual miniguns, a smoke screen, napalm and oil slick‚ as well as a six-inch-thick detachable steel plate on the rear bumper called “The Tombstone.” Joan Allen’s foul-mouthed warden from Death Race is sorely missed, but there are some new modest pleasures herein, including Lauren Cohan’s delightfully airheaded performance as Death Match host September Jones, a former Miss America who was discharged upon the revelation that she banged all of the judges, and Sean Bean’s oh so very grizzled turn as a snarling crime boss. Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo are in this, too, and Tanit Phoenix, who plays Luke’s navigator and love interest, is certainly easy on the eyes‚ come on, what’s not to like about this?
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