Legendary producer Roger Corman is returning to one of his most famous franchises.
The king of B movies, approaching his 90th birthday and in his 62nd year in the movie business, is producing Death Race 2050, described in a press release as a "reboot" of Corman's original 1975 cult classic, Death Race 2000. The film stars Manu Bennett (The Hobbit) as the driver named Frankenstein, with Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) as the Chairman. The director is somebody named G.J. Echternkamp.
Corman said in a statement, "This is an amazing opportunity for me and millions of Death Race 2000 fans to experience the intensity, thrills and dark humor of the original, fueled by a terrific young cast, spectacular vehicles and side-splitting action, literally. (The movie) puts the pedal to the metal to bring this enduring franchise to a whole new level.”
The film returns to the dystopian future envisioned in the 1975 film, a wicked satire that starred David Carradine as Frankenstein in a society in which automotive gladiators race across the country and accrue points for killing pedestrians and each other. The movie was remade in 2008 with Jason Statham as Frankenstein, and that remake spawned two direct-to-video sequels (Corman was an executive producer on all three).
Death Race 2050 begin shooting earlier this month in Peru and will make its debut on DVD, Blu-ray and digital HD later this year, with VOD distribution likely as well. Whether this new addition to the brand can recapture the crude thrills of the original remains to be seen (the 2008 version and its follow-ups sure didn't) but it's pretty amazing to see Corman still active at this point in his career.
We recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the original Death Race 2000 here in case you want to read about why it remains one of Corman's most enduring exploitation efforts. You can also read the synopsis of the new film below and decide if you're ready to get back in the car with Frankenstein once again.
In the not-too-distant future, America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government that keeps the masses placated with violent virtual-reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, where a motley assortment of drivers compete in a cross-country road race, scoring points for running down pedestrians and killing each other. The reigning champion and popular favorite is half-man, half-machine Frankenstein -- but little does he know he’s taken on a rebel spy as his co-pilot.