Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
If you were to ask me, I found that last Straight to DVD sequel of Paul W.S. Anderson's 'Death Race' movie wildly entertaining.  Even more so than it's bigger budgeted theatrically released older brother, reasons I detailed in full in my review of that movie, none of which I can remember right now.  Thus with the expulsion of 'Death Race 3: Inferno', once again being helmed by director Roele Reinne, you know I'm all aboard this train.  Now again, I don't remember why exactly I liked the previous movie so much, I guess I could go back and read that if I wanted to, but I'm too lazy to do that, but I do know that I didn't care for this one nearly as much. 

Last time we saw Carl Lucas, he was burning to death in a horrific car wreck, only to be rescued and turned into the legendary masked Death Racer known as Frankenstein, with Carl Lucas believed to be dead by those closest to him.  That was then.

Now Frankenstein is steady racking up Death Race wins, still with his same crew that consists of mechanic Goldberg (Danny Trejo), tech guy Lists (Fred Koehler) and navigator Katrina (Tanit Phoenix) who amazingly seems to have gotten even hotter since the last movie.  Now all Frankenstein needs is one more win, to make five, and the big boss of the network, Mr. Weyland (Ving Rhames) will be contractually required to set him and his friends free.

But not so fast my friends because Weyland's corporation is about to be taken over in a hostile kind of way by the loose cannon called Niles York (Dougray Scott) and he doesn't seem to be all that interested in honoring Weyland's contract.  We should also mention that having Luke Goss' pretty face all covered up for entire movie clearly wasn't going to work for the producers of this joint so they got Lucas some super duper plastic surgery, theory being he was gonna die if they didn't do this, and now he's not burnt up anymore.
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Back on point, York, a total douchebag if ever there was one, wants to change up Death Race, take it on the road, and he needs Frankenstein to be on board for all future races if his investment is going to pay off.  If Frankenstein doesn't participate in this race, an off road rally race across South Africa, Frankenstein and his crew will die.  By now his crew has learned that Lucas isn't really dead and stuff and they're all upset.  Especially his true love Katrina who just can't forgive him.  Until she does, 'cause you know she is. 

So this new off road Death Race is typical Death Race… new style Death Race that is… with power ups and traps and explosions and whatnot, all being manipulated by York and his hostile and EXTREMELY fit floor manager Ms. Diabolos as played by the EXTREMELY fit actress Hlubi Mboya.  I kid you not, this young woman takes fine care of her temple, a temple we would actively worship at if given the chance, and we appreciate her for that.

Regardless of all of that inappropriate nonsense, York's mandate for Frankenstein to lose still stands, but we know that Frankenstein has a plan for his ass.  And this plan is a wacky one.  In fact, the concept of deathrow inmates racing in South African ghettos while shooting at each other with the chance of being free if they kill enough people makes sense by comparison.  But what are you gonna do?

Like the 'Wild Things' genre of Straight to DVD sequels, I imagine 'Death Race' is now becoming a franchise and as such it has a standard set of rules.  Plenty of cars with rocket launchers, crazy hot chicks as navigators, a moral anti-hero at the helm, and the double-cross, turning into a triple cross to close things out.  Taking this stuff at face value, it's not so bad.  There is way more vehicular mayhem than the last movie, chances are if you are a hot chick from South Africa, you were in this movie, we liked Luke Goss in the last movie and he didn't do much to deviate from the character he created in that movie, and the overall performances were probably about as good as you are going to see in a movie like this.  But why didn't we enjoy 'Death Race 3: Inferno' more?

I don't know, because my tastes are becoming more refined?  Nah, that can't be it.  Probably because we found the exercise of 'Death Race 3' kind of repetitive.  The myth they built into Lucas becoming Frankenstein was kind of cool in the last movie, but the filmmakers completely threw that out with this one, as opposed to building on it, and gave us crazy people - fist fight - race - blow up - hot chick - end race… then repeated that like over and over again.  Gotta admit that the hot chick knife fight, flame thrower battle was a nice addition, might want to build a movie around that alone, but otherwise, despite all of the sound and fury and mayhem and the wall to wall hot chicks all over the place… with almost the complete absence of any kind of coherent narrative, damn if 'Death Race 3: Inferno' just didn't turn kind of dull after a while.

That being said, if you happen to be an action junkie, a vehicular mayhem action junkie in particular, I can see where you might dig movie because it does go and rarely slows down for anything.  Like a story.  And with that in mind, this is what you get with 'Death Race 3: Inferno'.  I big old fiery mess that just might entertain.
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