Posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
Paul WS Anderson never seems to stop working. It’s a lot easier, sure, when working with unabashedly commercial projects, but if some of the filmmakers that I like a lot more could manage to work half as often as he does, this would be a very different cinema landscape. Now, according to Shock Till You Drop, Anderson is working on a prequel to his 2008 film Death Race. Which, wait a second, means he’s writing a prequel to a prequel?
Death Race was the film that explained the early days of the deadly road sport depicted in the truly entertaining Roger Corman and Paul Bartel film Death Race 2000. Anderson explained at Comic Con ’07 that he always wondered how the race depicted in that movie became a national sport sanctioned by the President of the US, so he wrote the film in which Jason Statham’s faceless racer Frankenstein had to break out of prison. Anderson’s film ended (spoilers, I suppose) with Frankenstein and a couple of fellow escapees living a free life in a nicer part of the world.
The idea of a sequel to that prequel had been discussed right from the start. (As well as a video game, which never materialized.) But the film only made $36m domestic, so now Anderson has written a story that will be scripted by Tony Giglio (who may also direct) and the gist is that it will “delve into the past of the driver known as Frankenstein.” The Shock article is a little confusing, because the words prequel and sequel are both used, but what this says to me is that this story takes place before Anderson’s movie. (I’ve emailed Shock to clarify.)
Meanwhile, I’ve mostly written this article as a way to urge anyone who’s never seen Death Race 2000 to rent it immediately. It is a legitimately fun, weird, almost subversive movie with a great performance by David Carradine and a hilarious turn by Sylvester Stallone. It contains the origins of a whole lot of action movie tropes, but also has low-budget touches everyone loves. Like what? The title card is drawn in colored pencil! Paul Bartel is a director that doesn’t get his due these days, and it’s a great effort from him.