(es) wrote: Brent Huff's Treasure Raiders borrows from the past to create something unoriginal.Street racing and archaeology. At just under 90 minutes the mixture of concepts never mesh together. The story becomes difficult to take seriously and the storytelling isn't much better. The interest and excitement are lacking from all angles.The action is forgettable. Run of the mill brawls, shootings, and car races just pass the time with no adrenaline whatsoever.The acting is the most atrocious piece of this production. Alexander Nevsky has line delivery that sounds like Arnold Schwarzeneggar with terrible dialogue. Steven Brand and David Carradine are the more prominent actors, but fall way short with the script. There are more characters to bash, but it's not worth the time and effort.Treasure Raiders takes concepts with potential, but fails miserably to execute. Skip.
(kr) wrote: "Death Race" is not a great movie, but if your demands are racing, death and guys grunting at each other, you'll get your fix. In 2012, the U.S. economy collapses. Unemployment and crime rates become the highest they've ever been in American history. Prisons become privatized and as the years go by, the inmates become entertainment for the masses in gladiator-like combat. Death Race is born. It consists of a 3 day, 3 lap race in which the contestants and their navigators race around a fixed track, collecting weapons, defensive mechanisms and setting obstacles for their opponents. Win Death Race 5 times, and you win your freedom. When The star of Death Race is a mysterious, disfigured man who wears a mask and is simply known as Frankenstein. When he is killed in the final lap with his rival, Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson), warden Hennessey (Joan Allen) sees her ratings plummet. She convinces newly admitted convict Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) to take his place. He puts on the mask, drives Frankenstein's repaired car and Hennessey tells her fans that Frankenstein has survived, is now patched up thanks to some miracle at the hospital and is now ready to race again.Like I said, this film isn't heavy on the plot. Basically we've got a bunch of races and people are going to die. Inbetween, we've got scenes of exposition that tell us who we should be cheering for on the track. Anything else doesn't strike you as particularly compelling. The characters? Well the villains are either psychopaths you know need to be killed, corrupt prison officials, friendly members of Jensen's pit crew or nameless prisoners that will serve to increase the body count. What's strange about the film is that the main character isn't really interesting at all and it's the secondary cast members if anything that will have you interested. Jason Statham plays what has become one of my most disliked heroes. He's a former NASCAR driver that loves his lovely wife and daughter. Then one day, his wife is murdered and he's framed for the crime. Now he's in prison and to survive, he's got to participate in the Death Race. Talk about boring. Aside from the fact that this guy loves his family, drives well, wants revenge and is willing to kill, there's nothing else to know about him. This is my biggest gripe with the film. It's a movie called "Death Race". Why the need to give us a good guy to cheer for? It just makes the movie that much more predictable. Why not give us an antihero, maybe someone that just wants to kill a specific thug in the Death Race so he gets himself incarcerated and then volunteers to join up. Or maybe he's a regular, low-profile criminal that shows some promise and is forced to join the Death Race. At first, he's scared but once the killing begins, he starts loving the fame and the power of it. Instead, we get a guy that doesn't want to race. He just wants to get out as quickly as possible, hates the warden for putting him in the Death Race and refuses to cooperate and always does everything reluctantly. We've seen that character a hundred times.Some of the other problems with the film are the way the action is shot. The premise of this film is that it's a televised event. So why not give us a film that looks like the televised event, with interviews, pop-up screens that introduce the characters and that sort of thing? Anything would be better than the incredibly frenetic sequences of driving that admittedly do get better as the movie goes along. It really doesn't help that the vehicles being driven around are not interesting to watch. Yeah they've got armor and guns, but they don't have any personality. Compare the designs in "Death Race" to the ones in the film that inspired it, "Death Race 2000". The cars in the original exploitation film were colourful and outlandish. There was no confusing them. Here, you can barely tell one vehicle apart from another. Once the movie gets past the initial setup and finishes introducing the characters, it really starts to get going. There are enough despicable baddies for our hero to blow through a few of them every 20 minutes or so to keep the races dramatic, the pyrotechnics and special effects are well done as well and halfway through the movie there are some nice twists and turns when it comes to the races. The setting of the event is also pretty cool, with the racing element and the killing well blended together. The film does deliver when it comes to the violence and, at times there are some neat bits of actual racing as well. For big fans of this film who have gone on to see the prequels, "Death Race 3: Inferno" and this one have some nice continuity together.Overall, there are some big flaws with the movie, but it's dumb, violent fun. I still can't figure out what the difference is between the theatrical version and the unrated version of the film and one bad line from Joan Allen makes me cringe every time ("F*ck with me c*cksucker, and we'll see who shits on the sidewalk!"). This one is not as good as the original, if only because it doesn't ever step back and make fun of itself or get as sleazy as it should but it's decent entertainment if the title sounds like something you want to see. (3/5: Theatrical version on Blu-ray, June 10, 2014)(2,5/5 : Extended/Unrated cut, Blu-ray, June 29, 2012)