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Loud, Stupid, Fast

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 26, 2008 6:40PM

"Cocksucker! Fuck with me and we'll see who shits on the sidewalk!"

2008_8_26deathrace.jpg That's not dialog you'd expect to hear coming from the mouth of three-time Oscar nominee and Steppenwolf ensemble-member Joan Allen. Then again, you don't expect her to be in a movie surrounded by crazed, Mad Max-like motorists smashing into each other with their souped-up vehicles. But there she is, playing the icy warden of a maximum security prison in Death Race. Presumably she was well-paid.

Even if you haven't seen the movie you can guess the plot. In the dystopian future America is a hell-hole where hardened convicts compete in a rigged realty show called "Death Race," killing each other with their vehicles in an attempt to win their freedom. Yada yada. It's merely an excuse for pounding, senseless action scenes and bone-crunching violence. The "don't try this at home, kids" disclaimer at movie's end demonstrates, however, that this is responsible filmmaking. Right.

So how come we actually, well, sort of enjoyed it? The various badass dudes in the movie (including Jason Statham) do the car-wrecking thing just fine but it's really Allen that milks her screen time for all it's worth, shuffling through every possible incarnation of the facial expressions for "greedy" and "sadistic." It's junky, emply-calorie fun; the kind of movie the Brew & View was made for: fast, choppy, and as subtle as a dead raccoon in the middle of the Edens. We hope a run at that establishment is in the cards.

pic via Universal Studios