Death Race: An Interrogative

(with apologies to Crispin Hellion Glover)

What is the best thing for a Friday afternoon in late August? A movie? A book? A video game? What if you could mix two of them together? What if you could have the narrative structure of a video game in the form of a movie?

Does a film with less than ten pages of dialogue deserve to be made? What about Quest for Fire? Le Dernier Combat? Microcosmos? Koyaanisqatsi? Can a film with excessive violence be considered art? Are films with less on-screen violence more disturbing than films filled with graphic displays? What about Psycho? On the other hand, what about American Psycho? What about A Clockwork Orange?

Can a film with a short written statement at the beginning about economics, violence, and television, which then turns mostly to action sequences, qualify as social criticism? Was Death Race 2000 social criticism? The Running Man? The Phantom Menace? The Terminator? Does it matter?

Would the audience of 2012 really find prisoners racing around the track in machine-gun-loaded muscle cars entertaining? Would large-breasted co-drivers with little on-air face time really be needed? Would a gay driver really require only male assistants? With the economy in shambles, would there even be an audience willing and able to afford to watch such races? Would over 50 million?

What would you call the person who directed this film? A hack? A genius? An auteur? A man with the goods? How about the person that goes to see this film? Will he get his money’s worth? Or will he be wishing afterwards that he could get that 89 minutes and $6 matinee ticket price back?

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