Repentant convict Carl Lucas (Luke Goss)— aka Frankenstein— is a legendary driver in the brutal prison blood sport known as Death Race. Only one victory away from winning freedom, Lucas is plunged into his most vicious competition yet: the first-ever desert Death Race. Through South Africa’s infernal Kalahari Desert, Lucas is pitted against ruthless adversaries and powerful forces at work behind the scenes to ensure his defeat. Also starring Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames, Death Race 3: Inferno is an insane, action-packed thrill ride.
It's a bad sign when the guards on race day are accompanied by hyenas on leashes. Yes, you know you're in Death Race world, thanks to these subtle hints that everything's gone really, really badass. Death Race 3: Inferno returns to the subject of the masked driver known as Frankenstein (played by Luke Goss, a more-or-less Jason Statham look-alike), who's due to gain his freedom from prison and the Death Race circuit by winning a certain number of races--but wouldn't you know it, the new corporate ownership of the racing world wants to renege on the agreement and exploit his celebrity to its fullest. A grueling desert-based race follows, with unsurprising results. The most amusing subtext of the Death Race movies is their implied criticism of the very audience that would watch violent movies like this, although Inferno doesn't waste much time worrying about all that; this is action moviemaking by the numbers, with the requisite "colorful" villains, giant crashes, and doled-out T&A. Goss and leading lady Tanit Phoenix are so laid-back that bad guy Dougray Scott gets to chew the scenery with no apparent adult supervision. In support, Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames ladle on a little grindhouse flavor. It's all mostly to no avail--you have to really be into the Death Race reboot to care about what happens here. --Robert Horton