I shall be rushing to judgement of Death Race 2050, clearing its lines and checking its breaks to decide if it’s a winner or gets lost along the way. So read on only if you’ve already seen Death Race 2050, or don’t plan to.
00:00:47 Banners celebrate the U.S.’s new name: United Corporations of America
0:01:08 A giant hologram of the leader of the United Corporations of America (Malcolm McDowell as the Chairman), towers above a packed stadium. Sadly, he’s not the only leader with a big head.
Why did those pilgrims land on Plymouth Rock? Because they needed a place to stage the greatest pissing contest known to man!
Chairman kicking off the death race
As if you needed this more proof this was a parody of Trump’s presidency… #PissingContest
0:02:27 We meet the first competitor: Tammy the Terrorist (Anessa Ramsey)
Three-time veteran of the race and leader of her own, very convoluted religion.
Charlie Farrell as JB the emcee
0:03:15 Tammy has planted a bomb in the stadium, and it goes off, destroying any expectation of expensive special effects.
[N.B. I shall go out on a limb here and say that director G.J. Echternkamp puts in a cameo here as the man who finds the explosive.]
Update: I was right! It is, indeed, Echternkamp. He was kind enough to send me an email confirming my suspicions. He states in the email,
Yeah that was me – but it wasn’t something I planned on doing. It was just that the crowd in the opening scene was %100 Peruvian, and I thought we needed at least one non-Latino looking person in the audience so the audience wouldn’t get confused that it was supposed to be America. Also why not blow up the director in the first three minutes? Seemed like a good plan to me.
0:03:48 Grace Tickle, our female emcee (Shanna Olson), informs us that points are calculated on time races and people killed, with 10 points for adults, 20 for babies and 50 for the elderly.
JB: Despite our free sterilisation clinics, Americans continue to reproduce at an alarming rate. And when we irradiated the entire world against cancer…well, that was probably a huge mistake.
JB: That means a lot of old people. And a lot of children who grow up to be old people.
Thus, population control is given as the reason for the Death Race. Seriously, this is a WTF because the number of people who are killed during these three days will likely have little to no impact on the overpopulation of an entire nation. But if you’re watching this film that closely, you’re watching the wrong film.
0:04:52 We’re introduced to the second contestant, Minerva Jefferson (Folake Olowofoyeku).
Gail: A successful recording career… a blockbuster sex tape… Why risk it all to compete in the Death Race?
Minerva: My new single can answer that question perfectly.
Drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive! Drive, drive, kill, kill, drive, drive, drive. Kill, drive, kill, drive, kill the white man!
Number one with a bullet.
0:05:54 At a Death Race viewing party, the younger man wears a special pair of glasses that alter his reality. The sexy women are, in fact, well over a hundred (and his grandmother), while the chic bar is nothing more than his slovenly flat. The glasses also permit viewers to share in a virtual race mode.
This year, each driver is carrying a passenger fitted with neurotransmitters, these proxies allow you to see, hear, and smell your favourite driver in stunning virtual reality.
That makes a lot of common senses.
0:06:38 The next contestant is Jed Perfectus (Burt Grinstead).
We hear a lot about professional athletes getting an early start, but in Jed’s case, his career began at conception. The product of genetic engineering, Perfectus breezed through sectional qualifying.
Apparently, he isn’t a self-made man.
0:07:34 The next contestant is returning, four-time champion, Frankenstein. (Kiwi Manu Bennett who, after Malcolm McDowell, is probably the most famous actor in DR2050, having appeared in The Hobbit Trilogy, 30 Days of Night and the lead role of Crixus in the telly series Spartucus.)
He’s got more machinery in his body than most guys have in their cars.
Frankenstein has been put back together more times than Humpty Dumpty, except better, because it’s with electronics and metal. Speaking of a self-made man.
0:08:48 The final racer arrives…
This is the first self-driving car, programmed to follow the complex rules of the race.
ABE will be the first self-driving car to run over pedestrians…on purpose.
0:09:57 Frankenstein meets his proxy, Annie Sullivan (Marci Miller). He despises her so much that she must be a future love interest.
[🐔 Easter Egg: The real Anne Sullivan is the teacher best known for teaching famous blind girl Helen Keller. Thus, our Annie Sullivan will help enlighten Frankenstein and bring him out of his solitude.]
0:14:04 The first area the racers pass through after leaving Old New York is Eastern Fall Out Zone (formerly New Jersey).
0:16:14 Frankenstein takes off his mask. This isn’t as big a deal as everyone in the film seems to think it is.
0:18:03 An update from ABE and his proxy, Dr. Von Creamer (Helen Loris).
0:18:50 A husband leaves his home to buy Mood Wizz for his wife, but Tammy the Terrorist cuts him off.
0:20:34 Alexis Hamilton (Yancy Butler) makes an appearance. She’s left the belly of the beast (network programmer) to become the leader of a violent revolutionary squad that wants to finish the Death Race–for once and for all.
You know what the Dalai Lama said about committees? Oh, that’s right, he didn’t talk about committees…because he wasn’t a pussy!
Hamilton’s philosophy on the efficacy of committees
0:22:12 Minerva starts singing her hit single so that her fans gather in the street where she’ll be able to run them over and gain points. But before she can lay those tracks, Tammy cuts her off and eliminates them first, stealing Minerva’s points.
Jihad Jimi Hendrix!
Tammy the Terrorist as she takes out Minerva’s crew
And it’s great to see so many of you Asian parents turn out today! You’re the lifeblood of every school.
School principal (David Smith) at Bieber Elementary
0:25:42 A fan messaged Frankenstein to inform him of an easy point opportunity. Yet, rather than run over the children in wheelchairs for high points, he instead veers off to kill their parents, for fewer points. Ergo, he’s pointless.
[🐔 Easter Egg: The name ‘Kirk Land’ is no doubt a reference to William Shatner, who played James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series (and a handful of films), and whom producer Roger Corman directed in 1962’s The Intruder.]
0:27:08 ABE and its proxy, Dr. Von Creamer, take a detour to collect points by hitting a homeless bloke. But then, surprise, he turns out to be bait. Members of the revolution ambush the car, so Dr. Von Creamer promotes my website!
0:28:08 While rescuing the doctor, ABE becomes addicted to collecting points and loses control, going so far as to whip Creamer.
0:29:45 I’m not sure when Death Race was filmed, but when Frankenstein makes jokes about the Chairman’s hair blowing in the breeze, it feels an awful lot like a jab at Donald Trump. I’ll check on this and get back to you.
Update: I was right yet again! In the aforementioned email, when asked if it’s a Trump reference, Echternkamp explains, “Yes, definitely. Though wrote it a year before the election, so it seemed like a really silly idea at the time.”
Meanwhile, frustration for Team Jefferson. “Drive Drive Kill Kill” may be making its way to the top of the charts, but today’s slow start may mean a 1-8-7 for Minerva’s chances for victory.
[N.B. ‘1-8-7‘ is the California penal code designation for murder, thus the announcer is saying her bad performance spells the death of her chances of winning.]
I’ll drink your tears, Frankenstein. I’ll lick them off your handsome face.
Jed Perfectus taunting Frankenstein
I approve of the gay slant they’re giving Jed, it gives me hope, and something more.
0:35:26 Next stop: Washington D.C. (Formerly Dubai), at a fancy dinner in an underground car park.
Chairman: Jim, how many people have you got working for you? I’m talking about human people. How many? A dozen?
Like his grammar knowledge. #fewer
0:37:56 While in the shower, Annie tunes the shower heads and a hologram of Alexis Hamilton, the Leader of the Resistance, appears. She tells Annie, who is a revolutionary mole, to kill Frankenstein tonight as he’s an establishment figurehead. Maybe one of the reasons Annie seems so green as a proxy is that she’s a plant.
0:38:14 Annie works the toothed mouse trap up her popular channel. The plan is for her to seduce Frankenstein, so that when he initiates intercourse, she’ll be able to cut him off in his pass.
0:39:36 While Annie throws herself at Frankenstein, Eve is busy simulating sex loudly to perpetuate the myth that Jeb is a real man, not a man’s man.
0:42:18 With Frankenstein asleep and Jed’s preference for the back way, it looks as though all the drivers but Tammy are going to bed less ridden than their motor cars–but just as driven.
0:43:44 Continuing the satire, were informed that during Day 2, the drivers must navigate through America’s gun loving heartland, where the critics won’t be the only ones taking shots at them.
[N.B. The area is referred to as Red Zone Alley, as a nod to the “red states” in the U.S., those that traditionally vote conservative]
0:43:48 I can’t go a minute longer without acknowledging Gunter and Cindy Brown’s killer musical score!
0:44:33 Day 2 begins in Walmartinique (formerly Arkansas)
Playing hard to get, huh? I’ll take you from behind, old man!
Jed to Frankenstein while they jockey for position
Welcome to the Red Zone. It smells like barbecue sauce and bed sores.
Frankenstein describing the South of the United States
0:49:07 In Meatpackistan (formerly Kansas), Tammy the Terrorist holds a pre-death revival.
Who wants virgins? Who wants chicken wings? Everybody loves chicken wings! Well, guess what, y’all? The Almighty’s got a Hooters in the sky and it is time to martyr up!
0:50:22 But before Tammy can accept their sacrifices, Minerva comes asking and steals their offering.
You just pissed in the wrong pool.
Tammy swears revenge
0:56:08 One of Tammy’s suicide bombers exacts revenge [see 50:46] by killing Chi-Wapp (Pierre Paolo Goya Kobashigawa), Minerva’s proxy.
I don’t want to die sober.
0:58:33 Annie, Frankenstein’s proxy and resistance fighter, leads him into a trap.
Frankenstein, after he defeats a flurry of them
1:01:39 Annie draws a gun on Frankenstein but is unable to pull the trigger before he can wrest it from her. He destroys it with his robot hand and instructs her to turn on her video feed while he punishes a revolutionary for being stupid enough to try and evade a car by running on a road.
After fighting with Frankenstein in their hotel room (Annie wants him to care about something other than the race, he wants her to stop being a resistance movement sheep), Annie meets Minerva in the hotel bar, where they discuss something other than a man.
Minerva: To paraphrase the words of a wise man, “All evil comes from a single cause.”
Minerva: Man’s inability to sit still in a room.
Assure: Yeah. Who said that?
Minerva: Blaise Pascal. You didn’t think I spoke ghetto off camera, did you?
[🐔 Easter egg: The bar is called the Bechdel Bar in reference to the Bechdel test, “which asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.” (Quote is from the linked Wiki article.)]
1:06:01 Jed watches an advert of himself promoting “Protein Perfectus”, which resembles closely another source of protein.
Your protein mega-load.
1:06:29 Jed has a breakdown and sees himself as a ballerina in a wind-up toy, which tells him, “This is the real you.” I’d sure play with him.
1:07:22 Jed searches out Frankenstein and they exchange fisticuffs in the hotel room to the sound of a good punk song, which is probably “Brummy Hi-ball” by the Cousin Lovers, but it doesn’t exist anywhere else outside the world of this film so I can’t be sure.
1:08:34 Before Jed can finish Frankenstein off (in the fisticuffs sense), Annie returns to the room and renders Jed unconscious. She’s a knock out.
1:10:01 The Chairman is waiting in bed for his date.
Hey, beautiful, get a move on. I’m going from blue chip to junk bond.
“I’m going from blue chip to blue balls.” #IfIWroteThisFilm
1:10:17 The Chairman’s date is the Alexis Hamilton, the head of the resistance movement. This to demonstrate all organised movements are in bed together.
[N.B. This reveal is foreshadowed at the dinner [see 35:26] when the Chairman declares Frankenstein must die, and in the very next scene, the Head of the Resistance orders the execution of Frankenstein.]
1:12:37 Day 3 Mormondia People Farms (formerly Utah)
1:16:18 Minerva seeks to destroy Tammy, who straps dynamite to her proxy (Junior Jain Taboada Palomino as Deacon Grogg) and forces him out of the moving vehicle. Swerving to avoid him, Minerva drives off a cliff, is thrown from her burning car, and dies. Tammy, looking on, is struck down by ABE, who is like Charlie Sheen in that he self-destructs.
1:21:311 At the Bakersfield Retirement Community & Genetic Research Lab, there is a final showdown between the Resistance and Frankenstein. With Annie’s assistance, Frankenstein is able to prove he’s in the driver’s seat.
1:24:44 Frankenstein runs Jed off the road, so that the Perfectus mobile crashes through the roof of the studio, killing Jed and his proxy (Leslie Shaw as Eve). The announcers Gracie Tickle and JB die under a lot of pressure as well, as the vehicle also crushes them.
1:26:58 Frankenstein runs over the Chairman to win both the race and the revolution. He then preaches to us through the medium of the VR camera.
You don’t need the Chairman. You don’t need Frankenstein. You have the power. Make the reality of your own race. Now, get up! Turn off those headsets and get into those cars! And may the best driver win.
1:27:34 WTF!? The audience took this speech to mean have a riot? Those weren’t fighting words.
- WTF!?’s: 2 passing ones.
- When to Follow: Any time. All the time. This film is a thrill ride and can be enjoyed equally as much when you simply want some cheap entertainment to go with your beer or when you’re looking for a political comedy with sharp teeth. Day or night, tablet or TV, drunk or sober, no time is a bad time to watch Death Race 2050.
- Where’s This Found:
Cutting to the chase, so to speak, I loved Death Race 2050 from its obscure beginnings to its bitter end. Not only that, I consider this film a great accomplishment that will find its way into in my Top Ten of the year 2017, and I’m ready and willing to defend this opinion to anyone. And I will have to defend it. Maybe a lot.
The film’s biggest problem is that I’m the single, solitary member of the target audience. The intelligent film goer (Enemy, Under the Skin…) will find Death Race too trash, and those who love trash (Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre and other Mockbusters) will find the cutting social commentary here too intelligent. Which is a tragedy because beneath the trashy makeup on the cheek with the tongue planted firmly in it, you’ll discover a cutting satire of organised religion, gun control, industrialisation, consumption, global warming, and corporate America. What’s even better is that, while attacking these subjects, G.J. Echternkamp never forgets he’s directing a trash, B-movie parody.
Were there any downsides? Well, the social satire worked impeccably, but, on the other hand, the philosophical side (individual freedom vs a need to belong) was not as well developed. Basically, Death Race 2050 could’ve used even more crazy gore and less meaning. But, if you thought Kung Fury was too short, Sharknado wasn’t political enough and the Star Wars Holiday Special lacked boobs, this film is for you. As for me, out of a possible 10, I have 8 solid F’s to give.
- What To Feedback:
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
Left over photos
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WTF!? did they say?
WTF!? do you meme?
What to Follow Up
Bar None Review
Fernby Films Review
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