Death Race, as far as Jason Statham movies go, is… not the greatest. (The greatest, obviously, is Crank: High Voltage.)
Statham plays an improbably named ex-racecar driver framed for his wife’s murder because the head of a for-profit prison wants him to participate in a deadly series of car races… a DEATH RACE, if you will… that convicts participate in to potentially win their freedom. Ian McShane is there, and Tyrese Gibson. It’s directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who peaked in 1995 with Mortal Kombat and has been going allllll downhill from there. (I will hear nothing from fans of the Resident Evil franchise. I am not disrespecting you. Mortal Kombat would represent a career high for most directors, up to and including Scorsese, Welles, Hitchcock, and YOUR MOM.)
All that is to say: Death Race. It exists. It’s highly mediocre! It also features Joan Allen, playing the aforementioned prison maven/Death Race enthusiast Hennessey, giving us the only line reading that matters in all of film history. You ready? Here we go. You’re going to need to block out a few hours in which to watch this on loop.
Hennessey, you see, has been established as a buttoned-up ballbuster who very specifically hates cursing. But then, the Statham, he Stathes too much! So Joan Allen just has to bust out with "OK, c*cksucker. F*ck with me, and we'll see who sh*ts on the sidewalk." (Emphasis mine, my heart's, my soul's.)
We'll! See! Who! Sh*ts! On! The! Sidewalk! What does that even mean? Is it a thing people really say, and the entire rest of humanity is involved in a conspiracy to keep me in the dark about it? Is Hennessey so unused to cursing that her brain shorted out when trying to find a sufficiently hardcore riposte to Statham Stathaming? "Uhhh... don't f*ck with me.... ham-fisted and homophobic attack on my enemy's masculinity, sure, that should do it... needs a good closer, though.... aedgsagcsahfsgav sidewalk-sh*tting. Combover Jason Clarke, does that sound right?"
How much did three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen get for saying that line? Was it a situation of "Fine, I'll say it, but you're buying me a lot of drinks before we start shooting. And none of that bargain-basement hooch. Mama wants the good stuff." Or did she read that line in the script, slam a tumbler of top-level Scotch on the table while wearing a classy, understated, and absurdly expensive dressing gown, yelling to her 20-years-younger lover (this is how I imagine Joan Allen lives) "Finally! Yes! I accept! I don't even need money. I'll pay them."
These are things I need to know.