Death Race (1973)

Death Race Poster

In the North African desert in World War II, a crippled American fighter plane that is unable to take off tries to evade and destroy a pursuing Nazi tank.

"Death Race" is a 1973 dystopian action movie produced by Roger Corman, directed by Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. Also referred to as "Death Race 2000", the movie focuses on a lethal, government-endorsed cross-country race in a dystopian America.

On the planet of "Death Race", the American federal government is a totalitarian routine that uses an annual occasion called the Transcontinental Road Race to control and captivate its population. The race, which takes a couple of days to finish, is open to professional motorists who are charged to drive from New York to New Los Angeles in a test of speed and kill strategies. The racers are awarded points for killing pedestrians with their greatly armed automobiles, with various points allocated for differing ages and conditions of the victims.

Characters & Plot
The main characters in the race consist of Frankenstein (David Carradine), a mystical, popular and highly experienced racer dressed head-to-toe in black leather; and Machine Gun Joe Viterbo (Sylvester Stallone), an aggressive and murderous rival, understood for his violent antics. Another essential character is Annie Smith (Simone Griffeth), who ends up being Frankenstein's navigator under the guise of a fan, but is in fact a member of the Resistance, a group planning to end the race and overthrow the government.

The plot of the film unfolds with the fatal race commencing in New York, recording numerous styles of hideous violence, satire, and dark comedy along the way. In spite of its relatively callous premise, the movie highlights the federal government's mind-control technique to quelch people through home entertainment, discussing aspects of social conditioning and propaganda.

Conflicts & The Climax
The film picks up speed with the continuous dispute in between Frankenstein and Joe, with the latter attempting to undermine and kill Frankenstein numerous times. Meanwhile, the Resistance tries to put an end to the race by killing the motorists, however its plans backfire as the racers evade the traps. The climax reveals Frankenstein's strategy to eliminate the dictatorial President (Sandy McCallum) to end the race for good.

In the movie's denouement, Frankenstein makes it through the traps and attempts on his life and successfully eliminates the President by running him over with his automobile during the prize presentation. In a surprising twist, Frankenstein, contrary to the Resistance's strategy, doesn't handover the power to leader of the Resistance (Thomasina Paine), but rather, ends up being the new leader himself. He abolishes the harsh practice of the race and triggers, with Annie by his side, to reconstruct society on more humane terms.

"Death Race" is a dystopian hybrid of dark humor, explicit violence, socio-political satire, and action. The film, while highlighting a brutal sport of the future, critiques the manipulative power of phenomenon and the usage of violence as a device for political control. It leaves a substantial impact on the audiences, making them reflect upon the terrible depths to which a government can stoop to preserve its oppressive control.

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