No sportsmanship in Deathsport!
Bill W. Dalton | Santa Ana, CA USA | 02/16/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD lacks all but the bare essentials as far as special features go. There's a scene index, some trailers, mini-biographies, and the movie, and that's it. The Roger Corman interview by film critic "Lenard" (sic) Maltin is listed on the case, but it is absent on the disk! Even the Corman data booklet is missing, although it too is listed on the case. I guess they just ran out of'em,The movie itself has all the bare essentials--a bare Claudia Jennings (Playboy Playmate, Nov. `69) and a bare Valerie Rae Clark (Penthouse Pet, May `77.) Their nude scenes in Lord Zirpola's torture chamber are about all that make this film worth its price. And Claudia Jennings alone would be worth it. Her career was cut short when she died in an auto accident in 1979, at age 29.David McLean plays the evil Lord Zirpola, in what was evidently his last movie role. He's best remembered by most as the unfortunate Marlboro Man, but I remember him for his short-lived 1960 TV series "Tate" in which he played a one-armed gunfighter! David Carradine plays Kaz Oshay, a "Range Guide," a wanderer in the wilderness, in what is basically the same role he's played many times before and after, that of a rebel outcast fighting what little structured society there is left in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Richard Lynch is Zirpola's henchman Ankar Moor, a Range Guide, once good, but now gone bad, who serves the oppressive, corrupt city-state of Helix. Sound familiar? Everything about this movie is familiar. Except the dialog, which is ludicrous, particularly the Range Guide mantra chant. And in the escape scene Carradine says to the others "We'll fire together, one at a time!" Good trick!The action scenes are mostly just long, confusing motorcycle chases through desert terrain, although the sword duel at the end is nicely done. The motorcycles are called "death machines." They seem to cause the deaths only of their riders. The special effects--lots of explosions, red laser blasts, mutant makeup, etc.--are pretty good for a low budget film. I recommend this DVD to all hard-core Roger Corman fans!"
Nial Westwood | London UK | 06/16/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Entertaining cheerful low budget crap, that is strangely less dated than the bile of sword & sorcery films that came in the next decade.
Looking at this film now it is basically an adult version of Battlestar Gallatica, with violence and female nudity
David Carradine sleepwalks through this and he is still superb.
However this not in the same league as the brilliant satire DeathRace 2000. Still it's fun to see films like this, that would
not have a pray of being made in this day and age."
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 10/12/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Yes my friends, it's time to review yet another one of Roger Corman's Comedy Classics. The 1978 film "Deathsport" arose from two significant incidents. One, the box office success of George Lucas's "Star Wars" virtually ensured that Corman would attempt to capitalize on that film's success. Two, Rog needed product to follow up on his "Death Race 2000" flick. Retaining the services of David Carradine and throwing in sound effects lifted directly from "Star Wars," Corman must have thought "Deathsport" would rake in millions. There's just one problem, however. "Deathsport" is an awful film. It's poorly scripted, cheesily acted, suffers from cheap production sets and lousy props, and generally runs about seventy-five minutes longer than its eighty-two minute runtime requires. I've seen many Roger Corman films thanks to the miracle of DVD technology, and have even enjoyed more than a few of them. For instance, I think "Humanoids From the Deep" is a massively entertaining movie. But "Deathsport" is in a category all its own. It's easily one of Corman's worst efforts. If you're familiar with his particular brand of low-grade sludge, you know that's saying a lot. When he misses, he misses big time. "Deathsport" is a huge miss.
The opening scenes of the film tell us that what we are about to see takes place in the future, 1000 years after an event called the Neutron Wars decimated humanity. Umm, o.k. Why not? It could happen. Then we see Carradine loping through rugged landscape clad in a cloak, a loincloth, and a few stock post-apocalyptic accoutrements. He's Kaz Oshay, a member of a rabidly individualistic sect possessing mental abilities and a tendency to speak dialogue that sounds like it came from a box of fortune cookies called the Range Guides. An evil dude by the name of Ankar Moor (Richard Lynch) sits nearby on a mountaintop, watching our hero through a scope while issuing frantic ambush orders to a bunch of hapless foot soldiers. Moor wants to capture Carradine's character at the behest of the evil Lord Zirpola (David McLean), a tyrant who rules over Helix City, so that the people in the city can watch Oshay die painfully in a spectator called...wait for it...DEATHSPORT! Predictably, Oshay falls into the hands of Moor and soon learns of a plot to wipe out as many Range Guides as possible. He teams up with one of them, Deneer (Claudia Jennings), to bring down the hegemony of Zirpola and Ankar Moor.
Along the way we're treated to one ham-fisted scene after another. Geez, where to start? How about with Ankar Moor's obvious comparisons to Darth Vader. He dresses in black, was once a Range Guide himself, and now works for an evil emperor...I mean Lord. Then there's the Deathsport itself. Set in a huge coliseum surrounded by cheering crowds--it's all created with canned sound effects and large paintings--the actual game is so lame I hesitate to describe it. Contestants drive fearsome death machines that shoot lasers that vaporize their enemies. Sounds great, doesn't it? It is until you realize these "death machines" are simply dirt bikes covered in molded plastic. Moreover, all they do is drive around popping wheelies and jumping over dirt ramps. Oshay and Deneer compete by running around this dirt obstacle course knocking the bad guys off the bikes, which then explode with big blooming fireballs. We even see one of the riders stumbling around on fire in slow motion. The subsequent escape, and thus the rest of the film, consists of endless chase scenes, explosions, and dialogue so dumb it'll lower your IQ score by fifty points. Will Oshay battle Ankar Moor in the end? Who will win? Who cares?
Whew. You'd have to check out "The Shape of Things to Come" or any of the Italian post-apocalyptic actioners to find a movie that compares with the mind-numbing banality of "Deathsport." Every actor associated with this boilerplate ought to have his or her SAG card seized and burned. It's been awhile since I've seen a film fail on so many levels. Ripping off sound effects and plot points from "Star Wars" is only the tip of the iceberg. Witness, for example, the over the top shenanigans from David McLean as Lord Zirpola. The actor who plays the character, David McLean, looks like a low rent Vic Morrow. His performance consists of threatening underlings when he's not clutching his head and roaring in pain from the "radiation poisoning" that's threatening his sanity. Then there is Claudia Jennings's sultry dance in her birthday suit. O.k., I really liked that part, but I couldn't help suppress a chuckle and a groan when I noticed that her dance was part of a torture devised by Lord Zirpola. The method of torture, you ask? Deneer must sashay through a bunch of dangling Christmas lights encased in plastic. When Zirpola flicks a switch, they cause immense pain. At least that's what I gathered from the ominous music and sound effects. Speaking of the music, the score consists of random synth noises slapped together. It's utter garbage.
Extras on the disc consist of trailers for "Big Bad Mama," "The Capitol Conspiracy," "Knocking on Death's Door," and "Death Race 2000." There's also a talk that lasts for roughly five seconds, long enough for David Carradine to punch out an interviewer who has the temerity to mention the word "Deathsport" to him. I'm kidding. There is no interview, but one could imagine such an incident occurring since the film is so incredibly awful. Still, I'm going to give the movie two stars because of the lovely Jennings and because I can't get enough of these terrible post-apocalyptic flicks. Avoid "Deathsport" like the plague unless you have similar interests."
This follow-up to deathrace 2000 isn't as much fun but as an
John D. Page | usa | 04/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"after "deathrace 2000" hit it big they quickly got david carradine together with the lovely and talanted claudia jennings(sadly not long after this movie she would die in a car wreck at 29,and never get to show the world her talent in bigger movies) to play "range guides" future "trail guides" for people moving around after the great "neturon wars". taken prisoners of the evil lord zipora(going mad as the brain tummor he has is killing him)and put into the "deathsport" where they are to be killed by his new motercycles that he plans to use to fight new wars . of corse these two warriors escape and the chase is on.
like i said not as great as deathrace but as a pure action movie it's pretty good. give it a chance and you'll like it i think."