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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2013

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 "Death Race 3 Inferno" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Death Race 3 Inferno (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

Death Race competitor Frankenstein, aka Carl Lucas, only needs to win one more race to earn his freedom; or so he thinks.  When the producers of Death Race, Weyland Corporation, are bought out by evil tycoon Niles York; the game changes for Frankenstein and his team.  York doesn't want to lose his money-making star so he makes a deal for him to throw the race.  Lucas doesn't want to sell out his team so he comes up with a plan to escape and exact his revenge on York.  He'll have to survive the toughest race yet as the convicts duke it out in the South African desert.  In addition to each other, they have rioting citizens and heavily armed warlords to contend with.  And the world can watch all the action live on pay-per-view!  It's blood-sport at its finest as Frankenstein and his team tries to win the Death Race!

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2012, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 45 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Luke Goss, Tanit Phoenix and Danny Trejo
  • Director: Roel Reiné
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes, and gore
  • Sex: Yes, and nudity
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

This is a pretty formulaic film.  Take equal parts violence, car stunts, fight scenes, cleavage, evil executives, and explosions; blend on "frappe" and you have Death Race 3; and about a hundred other B-action flicks.  Don't get me wrong, it's fairly entertaining and I was not bored.  In fact, the hour and 45 minutes went by pretty quickly.  There is little time to rest as we're thrown right into non-stop action.  The movie is helped by some decent casting; namely Ving Rhames and Dougray Scott as the corporate villains.  Their duel makes the story a little more interesting.  The stunt scenes are done well with plenty of explosions, over-the-top car wrecks, and splattered body parts.  It's mostly predictable but the plot twist at the end was a nice surprise.  The hero's plan for escape is clever and not everyone will see it coming.  I'd rate this Blu-ray well worth a rental, and a purchase for those collecting great sub demos.

Technical

Video quality was exceptional in terms of detail.  The picture was razor-sharp; well above-average for a modern film on Blu-ray.  My only complaint was the monochromatic color palette.  I realize this is a director's choice but Death Race is almost colorless.  The prison is rendered in warm dark shadows that are varying shades of orange and brown.  The outdoor shots are tan with just the occasional brightly colored shirt to let you know there isn't anything wrong with your display.  I know this is a style but a transfer this well-detailed could have had some decent pop with just a little more color.

The DTS-HD Master Audio track is the best reason to watch, and perhaps own, this disc.  I've rarely heard a better sub-woofer demo.  The twin 12-inch drivers in my Axiom EP800 were pounding away for the entire movie.  The front sound stage was large and crystal clear; dialog and sound effects alike.  Surrounds were used somewhat sparingly for some quick front-to-back pans.  I thought more could have been done there.  The music was a relentless onslaught of heavy metal guitar and drums; perfect for the action unfolding before me.  Kudos to composer Trevor Morris who has scored for a wide variety of films and TV shows including The Tudors and Scorpion King 3.

Extras

Bonus features include deleted scenes, two making-of featurettes, director commentary, and an alternate opening scene.  The disc I received contained both the theatrical version and an unrated version of the film.  The difference in running time is exactly one minute so I was unable to discern the new material.  Also in the package is a DVD with digital copy.