Almost all films are full of all sorts of plot holes, unworkable logic and completely unbelievable reasoning. The trick is that if the everything else in the movie is doing a good job of distracting you by being entertaining, funny or scary then you gloss over these inconsistencies and maybe even fill in the gaps yourself. Later on you might go back and ask questions of a film’s plot, realise that you have been hoodwinked into ignoring gaping holes in the story, or maybe even construct elaborate theories to prove that they weren’t really holes after all. Check out people arguing on the internet about The Dark Knight trilogy for a tiresome, endless example.
Some films however, create so many questions that you actually get a sort of plot hole overload and all you can do is sit there thinking something along the lines of ‘This far fetched action thriller about prisoners being forced to take part in gladiatorial weaponised car races in order to satisfy the corporate needs of the evil TV company that now runs all the prisons… It makes no sense”. A thought which of course in itself, makes no sense.
Death Race 2 makes no sense at any point to such a degree that it makes your head start to hurt. While you should be distracted by all the fighting and stunts that kick off after half an hour you will still be thinking about the bits in the first few minutes that were complete and utter bollocks. Added to the plot and character related senseless-ness there is a whole other layer of meta-bollocks going on here that will occupy the bits of your brain not concerned with logic and process: What is the point of Sean Beans naked lady-friend? How skint must Ving Rhames be to have to do this? How many accents has Luke Goss deployed in this film?
The main question though, is why so serious? Considering the premise and I guess the target audience, Death Race 2 seems to take itself about a million times more seriously than it should. There’s no sense of knowing humour or even un-knowing humour, it’s a really po-faced affair, which makes it seem even more clunky.
There is some kind of connecting point to the other Death Race re-make films which, unsurprisingly, doesn’t make much sense. Why graft some semi-serious mythology onto what was originally in 1975 a crazy, camp exploitation flick? Films like Death Race 2 might be more technically proficient and visually glossy than the films that inspired them, but they are no where near as weird, titillating, thrilling or outright rubbish – which seems to be missing the point entirely.
Attraction or Atrocity? A massively confusing atrocity. You could probably get a Phd by working out just how little sense Death Race 2 makes.