Friday, June 20, 2008

Death Race 2008 - the trailer preview

Goodness gracious. That's my first reaction after watching the trailer to the new movie Death Race, which is a remake of the 1975 movie Death Race 2000. At least I think it is. It seems to have similar attributes, yet the plot has been "reimagined" enough to make it totally incomprehensible.

But I'm not here to write about Hollywood remaking its history for the masses to cash in. No, I'm here to write about the utter ridiculousness of the movie's trailer. Now, I will warn you, if you're thinking about going to see this, and don't want to know what happens during every second of the movie, don't click on the link, and stop reading now. Because this is one of those trailers that spoils every plot twist (not that this is Macbeth or anything) and also shows you exactly what you're going to get when you step inside the theater. You've been warned...

The story sounds fairly routine...ex Nascar driver is framed for murder to come race in a weird prison car competition for his freedom. Along the way he runs into some malcontents, and the the guy from Deadwood (kudos to Ian McShane for cashing in on his Deadwood popularity. I don't begrudge him anything. In fact, his presence does pique my interest. A little at least). So gone is the cross country aspect and pedestrian killing from the original, replaced by a prison background and Joan Allen.

Now, I'm gonna be honest with you, the trailer has a nuke the fridge moment that viewers are either going to go with or tear their eyeballs out. When I first saw it, I was in the latter camp, but now I'm changing my mind. I mean, in a prison setting, the difficulty is bringing in the sex factor for horny, heterosexual adolescents (the main target of this film, obviously). Oz pulled it off somehow by having a woman on death row that slept with inmates, guards, and whoever else stepped foot into her cell. I doubt it would happen in a real life prison, but Oz made the genius move of making everything hyper-realistic, so by that point, you just went along for the ride. I mean, rapid aging pills?

Death Race doesn't have that luxury, so they came up with another way - bus in "navigators" (and while I of course haven't seen the movie, the footage in the trailer makes the race appear to happen on a closed track, making a navigator kinda of moot, but I digress) from the women's prison up the road. Luckily, most of the women prisoners apparently were incarcerated for "wearing really tight clothes," and anorexia so we're treated to the hottest of the hot. I mean, if this were real life, I can't imagine people wouldn't be committing murder on a daily basis, just for the opportunity to get close to these prisonettes.

So yeah, by that point in the trailer, you're either along for the ride or you know you're not going to see this movie. The rest of the way we're treated to a lot of cars and explosions, and obviously the turning point when the lead (Jason Stratham) figures out that the warden might have had something to do with the framejob on him. That leads to the conspiracy of the warden planting a bomb on his car, and well, who knows if he makes it or explodes?

So anyway, my original point was that the trailer shows a little too much of this movie to get me excited. I think there's a way to create at least a little bit of suspense AND still hold some stuff back. I mean, the female prison navigators simply begs to be revealed in the theater for the big laugh, but instead here I am seeing it on my computer months before the movie is released. Heck, who knows though? Maybe the movie is nothing like its trailer and we'll be treated to something with depth, excitement and surprises. I'm not holding my breath.

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