"Low budget films allow one to experiment, to take chances with a zany idea like DEATH RACE 2000. Paul Bartel had the type of black humor that was required to direct this cross-country racing mayhem; while Chuck Griffith h... more »andled 2nd unit direction for the action sequences, featuring futuristic fast cars created by an award-winning designer. To compete with David Carradine's dark hero, I cast Sylvester Stallone as the heavy, whom I had first noticed with his brilliant performance in THE LORDS OF FLATBUSH. This combination was particularly effective, and DEATH RACE 2000 remains one of my most successful films of all time." -- Roger Corman~~In the year 2000, hit and run has become the national sport. It's a no-holds barred cross-country race, in which the aim is to kill off not only your opponents, but as many pedestrians as possible. David Carradine takes on Sylvester Stallone in this classic adrenaline thriller that will make you look both ways twice before you cross.~« less
Chapulina R | Tovarischi Imports, USA/RUS | 05/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hey, what more can I add that hasn't already been said? When this first came out in lurid color on the Big Screen I loved it. And I love it today after watching it a hundred times. Carnivorous cars driven by caracature cowgals and gangsters, nazis with names like "Mathilda the Hun" and "Herman the German", and a mysterious champion named Frankenstein whose oft-rebuilt face is always masked, not to mention the Resistance, the French Air Force, and all the other "dear friends". Just don't get to like any of them too much. If you've never seen this sick, hilarious parody, get it now. Mr. President will love you for it."
"Chicken in a basket?" "No, they're Chicken in a Casket!"
Kenneth M. Pizzi | San Mateo, CA United States | 08/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So these are the words of Calamity Jane, a contender in Roger Corman's low budget farce, "Death Race 2000." It is interesting that Amazon paired Corman's film with Norman Jewison's "Rollerball" and for good reason: one movie is pure satire and played strictly for laughs while the latter is a far more serious and somber commentary on the media, America's love affair with violence steeped in what we call "sport," and the cult of celebrity. Both films explore these themes quite differently, yet both are entertaining as they are disturbing.
As a black comedy, "Death Race 2000" is more or less a cheaply made exploitation flick (budgeted at approximately $300,000), that never pretends for an instant to be anything more than a satire of the future and a parody of "Rollerball"--a far more ambitious, absorbing and expensive film.
Corman's film depicts a "game"--the Transcontinental Death Race--designed to cater to society's need to channel its aggression and hostile impulses as sort of a 21st century equivalent of the Roman circus offering spectators both entertainment and a catharsis in its more manic and kinetic moments.
Yes, the film is crazy--from the attack on Frankenstein by the French Air Force to Thomasina Paine (hilarious!) and her revolutionaries' thwarted attempts to assassinate "Mr. President" and end the Transcontinental Death Race once and for all. While the special effects in Corman's film are decidedly low-rent, save for some interesting matte paintings injected at the beginning of the film, the cars themselves, customized by car designer James Powers, are both creative and imaginative. The film, for the most part is amusing and very funny. The "Real Don Steele" is terrific as the commentator with one-liners that will leave you laughing.
While Carradine's "Frankenstein" looks utterly ridiculous in a plastic helmet and a vinyl body suit, a pre-Rocky, Sylvester Stallone steals the show and seems far more comfortable in the role of "Machine-Gun Joe Viturbo." Stallone would be a household name a year later with "Rocky" released in 1976. Before he assumed his US Senate seat representing his home state of Iowa, a bespectacled Fred Grandy, preceding his "Love Boat" debut on ABC, also manages some laughs as "Herman the German."
This DVD release with its extras and commentary is a vast improvement over the Digital Multimedia release that looks like it was pirated-off someone's VHS copy recorded in EP mode. For Corman fans, this would appear to be the release to shoot for. And according to IMBD, Corman is presently working on a big budgeted sequel due out sometime in 2008."
Not a true widescreen version
Andrew S. Bandrowski | LA | 01/10/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I took my younger brothers to see this when it came out and we had a great time at the show. It's low budget to be sure but it's more in keeping with the independent spirit of film making and the punk rock attitude that started circa 1975. However I can't believe that no one has complained about the con job of the faux widescreen transfer. This edition is just the full frame version with the top and bottom chopped off to make it look like widescreen. My previous full frame edition has more information. Shame on Buena vista for lying to us."
WIDESCREEN AT LAST!
B-Movie Fan | San Antonio, TX USA | 12/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, fans of Death Race 2000 can enjoy this satirical film in the original widescreen format (1.78:1). My compliments to Buena Vista Entertainment for making the effort to release this film in the format that originally graced theaters and drive-ins in 1975. Not only do the pulse-pounding car race scenes benefit from this, but also the "cramped" dialogue sequences between Annie & Frankenstein are loosened up. Paul Bartel's great direction - not to mention the 2nd unit direction of the race sequences - is really on display here: no longer hacked up in a full-frame format, it's really quite a slick picture. The widescreen presentation really pays off in the flick when the 5 racers initally split up (at about the 10:40 mark) and especially in Calamity Jane's bloodthirsty pursuit of Matilda the Hun (after Matilda's scoring of Jane's navigator). Of course, the explosions benefit immensely as well.
The 10-minute featurette with Roger Corman, Mary Woronov, Martin Kove, and writer Charles Griffith are enlightening, especially Kove's description of his effeminate depiction of Nero the Hero. What is obviously missing, though, are comments from Sylvester Stallone & David Carradine. I'd also have loved to have Roberta Collins' & Fred Grandy's take on the film (odds of that are no better than a snowball's chance in h***, but one can dream can't he?).
I recommend getting this DVD (the Special Edition, released 12-13-05) before it disappears. I have a feeling this may be the best edition we'll see of Death Race 2000 in the DVD format. Enjoy it for what it is - biting satire that could have only been made in the 70's exploitation film days."
Good Movie Low budget
Richard Eicholtz | Baltimore | 04/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie I had always heard about but never got the chance to catch it. Now I know where Toxic Avenger got the scoring pedestrians from. The original road rage Death Race 2000. I was watching and was wondering just when was the death going to kick in then it happened and it didnt stop. Great movie! Sylvester Stallone was pretty funny in this movie as he portrays Machine Gun Joe Paturbo ( I think thats how you spell it). David Carradine portrays Dr. Frankenstein and you think he's a freak at first but he is David Carradine so he's going to be weird anyway but its cool in the movie. They tied everything into this movie patriotism, road rage, liberty, humor and alot of naked women. Which is always a plus. But anywayz its a great movie especially if you liked the scoring from Toxic I check out the originators. I bought the box set and Pirahna came with it as well good deal but I dont know about those other two movies but this and Pirahna guaranteed satisfaction."