The Sunbaked King

Death Race


Death Race

Jason Statham

On one sunny day in 1991, my father arrived home from his oath-taking in Manila, carrying with him a big box. I thought the box contained a pair of shoes; the size was just about right. When the plastic bag was placed aside and the package revealed, my eyes almost popped out from their sockets. It was a stunning, high-tech, top-of-the-line… Family Computer. 

Over the next few weeks, Mario became my best friend. I guided him across infinitely deep gorges, helped him avoid the fiery fury of King Koopa, prompted him to step on that turtle in Stage 3 a hundred times so that he can gain a hundred lives, and consoled him when he was met, not by the Princess, but by that annoying mushroom seven freaking times. When he jumped, my joystick jumped. When he tiptoed across narrow cliffs, my toes curled. When he died, I kicked the computer away. (Kidding.)

The fantastical thought has crossed my mind several times. How it would feel like to be inside Mario’s World? Would it be just as fun? Or would the prospect of an incoming bullet (with a maniacal smile, no less) be actually dangerous? Death Race tells us that no, it wouldn’t be fun at all, but it would be one hell of a successful marketing strategy.

Death Race presents a world where the US is no longer the superpower, criminals roam the land, and private corporations gain profit from managing prison establishments. One of the many ways by which they do this is through TV (or maybe TiVo) subscriptions from rabid fans of the Death Race. With this one sensational concept, the movie provides a commentary on the extremes of capitalism, the addiction of people to reality TV, and the regression of a nation to its dark, bloodthirsty ways, all without appearing preachy or boring.

Boring, in fact, is one word I will not use to describe the movie. Boring is not a term I will use to describe Mario Kart in Time Zone, boring is not a term I will use to describe Need for Speed, boring is not a term I will use to describe Gran Turismo. The Race, which is a cross between a reality TV show and a video game, is a vivid spectacle of gunfire, gore, and machinery. With a respectable action star at the wheel (Statham), the result is a fast-paced film that will make you reach for that invisible joystick pad in front of you.

For $99, Stage 1 of the Death Race is worth every penny. For P170, Death Race is worth every cent.


Filed under: Cinema, Gadgetry, The Couch Potato

4 Responses

  1. makmak says:

    I never got to learn how to get that hundred lives thing in Mario. Probably because I was exposed to Mario 3 first. Heh.

    Anyway, that’s what I love about B movies (though I’m not quite sure if Death Race qualifies as a B movie) – I don’t expect it to be good but I usually end up enjoying the film.

    Seriously, there’s nothing else to see but the race scenes but goodness, those chases are anything but dragging (esp. when that huge tank joined in. Hah!).

    And I like Hennessy (and I love her even more for that ridiculous dialogue with Jensen Ames).

    Here’s to a sequel! LOL.

  2. kerwinray says:

    “Consider it an unselfish act of love…” HAHAHA.

    Mario 3 is easy, if you’re one of those people who always chooses the power of infinite flight. Haha. I love two powers: the one where Mario wears this black armor on his black and throws axes, and the one where he transforms into a statue if you press Down + B.

  3. makmak says:


    Hey, I seldom use the power of infinite flight. That’s cheating. Hahaha. Even the flutes, I want to finish all the stages by myself.

    It has a name – that brown suit that turns him into a statue. I think JM mentioned that before.

    I don’t like that black armor. I like the Froggy costume better. I even use it on land, and one time I tried using it during the final battle. Ahaha.

    I miss my FamCom dearly.

  4. kerwinray says:

    Ak! I hate the Froggy costume, because Mario looks stupid in it. Haha. Besides, I hate the water levels. I skipped Stage 2 in Mario 1 because it’s the water level, and I skipped Stage 3 or 4 in Mario 3 for the same reason.

    I love the sky levels, though. 😛

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