In the fascist future the national sport is Death Race, where drivers race cross country and get points for running people over. David Carradine stars in one of his best roles as Frankenstein, a driver who’s been in so many wrecks that his body is just a collection of spare body parts. A pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone is his main competition, Machine Gun Joe Viterbo. The other drivers include Mary (Rock n’ Roll High School) Woronov as cowgirl Calamity Jane, Martin (The Karate Kid) Kove as the fey Roman pretty boy Nero and Roberta (Caged Heat) Collins as the Nazi, Matilda the Hun. Simone Griffeth plays Carradine’s navigator who is also a member of the resistance trying to sabotage the race. The best scene is where a hospital has “Euthanasia Day” where the doctors set all the old and terminal patients out in the middle of the road, but Carradine chooses to run over the doctors instead.
This movie is one hell of a good time. It’s a fast, funny and exciting mix of black humor, racing and gore. The performances (especially Stallone) are also excellent, as is the announcer played by “The Real” Don Steele. Carradine later went on to many similar roles in movies like Cannonball, Safari 3000 and Deathsport. Look fast for John Landis in a bit part as a mechanic as well as director Paul (Eating Raoul) Bartel in a cameo.