Movie review: "Death Race" (2008)
The gist: In the dystopian future, privately owned prisons boost their incomes by televising cage fights between inmates. The Terminal Island correctional facility takes this a step further with an automotive duel between muscle cars driven by deadly male crims, navigated by spunky female crims, and armed with oil, smoke, spikes, napalm, machine guns and rockets.
Selling points: We Aussie blokes are genetically programmed to like anything that remotely resembles "Mad Max", and as car wars go, these are among the best. The characters may be shallow but they're well cast – Jason Statham as the reluctant hero, Natalie Martinez as his henchbabe, Ian McShane as the wise old mechanic, Tyrese Gibson as Statham's cocky rival, and Joan Allen as the ball-busting warden. Three words: "Release The Dreadnought!"
It's kinda like: A remake of 1975 cult fave "Death Race 2000" (whose star, David Carradine, makes a sneaky cameo). Maybe they shoulda titled this "Death Race 2033".
Final word: Auto-psychotica.
[Australian cinema release date: October 30)