Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don't have to. In the past, I've taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and now it's time to do it again.
DEATH RACERS (2008)
Starring: A cast only a Juggalo could love.
When you're contractually obligated to watch as many bad movies as I am, you start to build a mental checklist of what pushes something over the line into the realm of the truly awful. Writer-directors who star in their own movies, direct-to-video franchise sequels, these are bad signs, but this week's movie? It is the Worst of Netflix perfect storm: An Asylum Films knockoff of a remake of a Roger Corman picture that stars the Insane Clown Posse and professional wrestler Scott "Raven" Levy.
If it had David Heavener and a couple of racist puppets, I could retire, secure in the knowledge that no movie could ever top it.
Released by Asylum (the bastions of integrity that brought you Transmorphers) in order to capitalize on the Jason Statham remake of Death Race 2000, Death Racers seems to have taken their usual tactic of getting some guys to watching their source material's trailer and then figuring out how to drag it out to ninety minutes. In this case, they elect to do so by going for the rarely seen double-knockoff, lifting the plot wholesale from Escape From New York. It's the future, there's a city that's been walled off into a prison, and there's a problem.
Namely, there's a standard-issue madman called the Reaper who is played--or to be more accurate, phoned in--by Raven, whose taped fists give me the idea that he filmed his entire role in less than three hours right after a taping of TNA iMPACT! The Reaper wants to kill everyone in America, and plans on doing it with a large quantity of Sarin gas, which we know because he has a bunch of rusty, leaky oil drums sitting around labeled "SARIN."
In order to stop The Reaper, the Governor of Future California, played by some dude who is working his ass off to be Brian Doyle Murray, inexplicably decides to have a race, sending teams of convicts in to kill him. The convicts are led, of course, by the Insane Clown Posse, who create the first of many, many problems with the script by playing themselves despite the fact that the movie takes place thirty years from now. Apparently the combination of Faygo and pancake makeup actually can lead to immortality... but at what cost?
Amazingly enough, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J aren't the worst cast members, and neither are the two lesbian cannibal strippers collectively known as "Team Vaginamyte" either.
No, that dubious honor goes to Jason Ellefson, who turns in a performance as Latino gangster "Fred the Hammer" so amazingly racist that even Jeff Dunham was uncomfortable with it, cheerily delivering lines like "that's like telling me I can't have rice and beans for dinner" with the most over-the-top Mexican accent since Three Amigos.
It probably goes without saying at this point that the movie is very, very poorly made, but even for the Asylum, it sets a new low. I mean, you'd have to actually be trying to make something with lower production values than the Roger Corman original, but somehow they manage. There's a solid 20 minute block of the movie that's padded out by reversing and replaying the same footage in a completely misguided effort to make it look like the Death Racers aren't just driving down the same block at 3 miles per hour pretending to shoot at the director's friends. And then there's the movie's climax, where the part that isn't about Shaggy 2 Dope pretending to shoot an AK-47 so that someone can go in with Windows Movie Maker and add muzzle flash is about Violent J writhing on the floor with Raven in what I think was supposed to be a sleeper hold...
...but is really just embarrassing for all of us.
In short, Death Racers is irredeemably wretched, but I will say that it did introduce me to Elissa Dowling, whose performance as the Reaper's henchwench sees her faking an orgasm when he grumbles his master plan into her ear. That's not remarkable. What is remarkable is that according to the IMDB, she's been in 41 movies since 2006, including Orgy of Blood, Caged Lesbos A-Go-Go, and-- my personal favorite--Vaginal Holocaust, which means there actually might be someone for whom Death Racers is not the low point of their career.
But I doubt it.
|Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.|