Death Race practical and serious?
A report from the set of Death Race has appeared online and while it carries with it the usual behind the scenes stuff it has two interesting things to tell.
First that the points system we saw in the original Death Race 2000 is gone and secondly that the effects are going to be totally practical and as little CGI as possible.
Now that's interesting for a film like this, especially one from Paul W.S. Anderson who is so used to working with Aliens and Predators. Sure there's a lot of practical suit work in there, but there's a huge amount of CGI too.
The question is will the practical side suit Anderson more and help him bring out a stronger film? Perhaps so, and bear in mind that he's been solely working on this project since it's conception, indeed since Roger Corman seems to have handed it to him. According to Bloody Disgusting he says:
"...after I directed MORTAL KOMBAT, it was number one in America on its opening weekend, on Monday I had lunch with Roger Corman. He said, 'It's great, kid. You'd got a number one movie. What do you want to do next?' And I said, 'Well, Roger, what I really want to do is I'd like to get the rights to one of yours, kind of do a version of that.' And he said, 'That's great, kid. We'll make it your next movie.' So cut to literally 12 years later, we're finally shooting it, which is about how long it takes to develop movies in Hollywood."
Now that's an interesting start being handed the film by the man who created the cult original. Well he has a lot to live up to and with twelve years of directing this project perhaps we'll have something comparable with Death Race 2000?
However it seems he's losing the points system from the original film - you know twenty points for an old person, etc. I think that's a double edged sword, on the one hand it's losing a little of the cultural impact from the original, I mean that saying is still used today around my family, and they aren't half as mad on films as I am, but then as BD say it is breaking away from the original and plowing it's own path.
The other thing that Anderson is focusing on is pratical effects. As he says in the interview:
"I've been working exclusively on this film as a director, partly because the pressure to come up with something original with cars is kind of immense. And also, we made the decision very early on to make a movie that was entirely practical. I didn't want any CG cars, I didn't want any CG environments. I wanted to kind of go back to the old school way of making car chases, which is you build cars, they go really fast, you get the best stunt men in the world at the wheel, you mash them together and when they hit concrete blocks, they hit concrete blocks and they spin through the air. So that's a much more difficult way to make a movie. I think it's a much more satisfying way because it's much more visceral."
That's a cracking comment and it has to be said does suggest that this could be one of his best films to date, what with the growing trend of returning to practical effects and stunts and his reworking of the script to make it feel more real and more gritty, maybe Death Race will turn out to be a bit of a surprise after all? Something to match Event Horizon or Soldier, both really enjoyable films from the Director, but both packed with CGI.