Death Race (franchise)

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The Death Race series is a car combat franchise encompassing a series of films and other media centered on a reality show set in a prison, where inmates race against each other in order to win their freedom.


Death Race 2000 (1975 film)[edit]

Main article: Death Race 2000

Death Race 2000 is a 1975 cult action film. In the near future the ultimate sporting event is the deathrace. Contestants get score points for running people down as they speed across the country. The sport has crazed fans who sacrifice themselves to the drivers. An overt agency is trying to bring an end to the immoral deathrace and has infiltrated one of their followers in to the race as a navigator. In the end of the race the lives of the competitors, the President and the deathrace itself are in peril.

Death Race (2008 film)[edit]

Main article: Death Race (film)

Death Race is a 2008 remake of Death Race 2000. In the year 2012, the economy of the US collapses, resulting in unemployment and crime rates to skyrocket, and a sharp increase of convicted criminals, which leads to privatized prisons for profit. Hennessey (Joan Allen), the warden of Terminal Island Penitentiary, earns profits from the pay-per-view broadcast of a modern gladiator game called "Death Race", with the prisoners as the players. The racers, along with their navigators, drive a 3-part race over 3 days on a closed track at Terminal Island, with various pressure plates: swords activate the racers' offensive weapons, shields activate defensive weapons such as oil, smoke, and napalm, and skulls ("Death Heads") activate deadly metal traps which rise up from the track. The reward for the drivers is that if one racer who wins 5 races in a row will be granted their freedom by Warden Hennessey.

Death Race 2[edit]

Main article: Death Race 2

Death Race 2 is a prequel to the 2008 film, Death Race. In 2012, private corporations own and manage the prison systems. Getaway driver Carl "Luke" Lucas (Luke Goss) is arrested after a robbery for his crime boss Markus Kane (Sean Bean) goes wrong. As his accomplices are robbing the bank, two police officers casually enter the building. Luke tells his accomplices to abort, but they refuse; Luke intervenes, resulting in the death of one of the three accomplices. Luke shoots and kills one of the officers and dumps off his accomplices in order to fulfill Markus's wishes. In doing so, Luke is eventually captured by the police following a high-speed chase and sentenced to serve time on Terminal Island. Markus, worried that Luke will trade info on his crimes for immunity, discovers his location and orders his men to take Luke out.

Death Race 3: Inferno[edit]

Main article: Death Race 3: Inferno

Death Race owner Weyland (Ving Rhames) has been forced to sell the rights to Niles York (Dougray Scott), a British billionaire who acquired the rights by hostile takeover. York reveals he intends to relocate Death Race to the deserts of Africa. Before leaving, Weyland arranges Lucas to have surgery to heal the infected and deadly scars on his face sustained from the previous film Death Race 2. With Carl Lucas, aka Frankenstein (Luke Goss), one win away from gaining his freedom, York coaches Lucas to lose his races and threatens his life if he fails to comply.

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Film
Death Race 2000
Death Race (film)
Death Race 2 (film)
Death Race 3: Inferno (film)
"Frankenstein" David Carradine Jason Statham & David Carradine voice-over Luke Goss Luke Goss & Dougray Scott
Annie Smith Simone Griffeth  
"Machine-Gun" Joe Viterbo Sylvester Stallone  
"Mr. President" Sandy McCallum  
Myra Louisa Moritz  
Lists   Frederick Koehler
14K   Robin Shou
Jensen Ames   Jason Statham  
Hennessey   Joan Allen  Joan Allen - Photograph  Joan Allen - Archive footage
Joseph Mason (a.k.a. Machine Gun Joe)   Tyrese Gibson  
Coach   Ian McShane  
Case   Natalie Martinez  
Carl "Luke" Lucas   Luke Goss
Katrina Banks   Tanit Phoenix
Goldberg   Danny Trejo
R.H. Weyland   Ving Rhames
Markus Kane   Sean Bean  
Big Bill   Deobia Oparei  
September Jones   Lauren Cohan  


Deathsport is a 1978 science fiction B-movie produced by Roger Corman, directed by Allan Arkush and Nicholas Niciphor.

In other media[edit]

Comic book series[edit]

A sequel comic book entitled Death Race 2020 was published in 1995 by Roger Corman's short-lived Cosmic Comics imprint. It was written by Pat Mills of 2000 AD fame, with art by Kevin O'Neill. The pair had already worked together on several comics including Marshal Law. The comic book, as the title indicates, took place 20 years after the film and dealt with Frankenstein's return to the race. New racer characters introduced included Von Dutch, The Alcoholic, Happy the Clown, Steppenwolf, Rick Rhesus, and Harry Carrie.

The comic book series lasted eight issues.

Video games[edit]

  • The 1976 video game Death Race was inspired by the film Death Race 2000.
  • The 1982 video game Maze Death Race for Sinclair ZX81 computers (and 1983 for Sinclair ZX Spectrum computers) resembles the film by its cover artwork and title, and car-driving content.[1]
  • The Carmageddon video game series (Carmageddon, Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now and Carmageddon 3: TDR 2000) all borrow heavily from the plot, characters and car designs from the film Death Race 2000.


  1. ^ "ZX81 Cassette Tape Information for Maze Death Race". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 

External links[edit]