Death Race Blu-ray Review
'Death Race' is released on Blu-ray with a high octane 1080p AVC /MPEG-4 transfer that's correctly framed at widescreen 2.35:1, which blows the carbon off many other recent releases. The colour is desaturated in much the same way as 'Sleepy Hollow' was, to produce pale flesh tones and fit in with the greyness of the Prison island location. Resultantly explosions seem more impactful due to their colour content in the same way as a full colour red rose placed in a black and white photograph would.
The picture is amazingly sharp with no hint of over-correction and the black levels are reassuringly solid.
Grain shows up against light coloured backgrounds, but this simply adds to the gritty feel of the movie - much as the director would have wanted. It doesn't look electronic, it looks like film. This is one classy transfer.
'Death Race' is provided with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track that is of demo quality. Just as the explosions and machine gun fire of 'True Lies' became the pinnacle when DVD was king, then this new track should be appearing at a demo room near you soon. The cars accelerate past your ears, causing you to dodge, the bullets ping off the walls with such clarity that you'll be checking for holes and spent casings when the lights come up. The explosions go off with such a thud that the bass extension punches you in the chest as it goes by. At other times, I felt my trouser legs flap on their own.
Dialogue is kept clear among the debris, even Jason Statham's occasional sotto voce mutterings are intelligible. This is a very well mixed track and the heavy rock music will indeed 'rock' the house - so play nice with the neighbours.
The audio on this disc is the real star of the show.
- Digital copy
A Digital copy of the film is provided on Disc 2, allowing you to transfer the film to your PC's hard drive and watch it using Windows Media Player, although I'd rather watch the Blu-ray on a great big screen.
- Director's Commentary
Director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt talk us through the production. The two work well together, providing their own insights and occasionally varying points of view which adds to the interest. You've got to be a hardened movie buff to outlast most commentaries and this one is no exception.
- Start Your Engines: Making A Death Race HD (19:44)
A well made, interesting featurette that takes us on set and gives us the opportunity to explore the behind the scenes action including interviews with the director and cast. It takes us from pre- production all the way through to post production. We even get to see what Jason Statham has for lunch.
- Behind The Wheel: Dissecting The Stunts HD (7:51)
A short featurette that allows us to see how the director Paul W.S. Anderson, the stunt team and the actors pulled off the many intricate and explosive stunts without relying too heavily on CGI.
- Create Your Own Race
Here's your chance to choose multiple camera angles and create your own death race! Then share your race with your mates via BD live. I wasn't able to test this as I don't have the ability to use BD Live, but it sounds fun.
'Death Race' on Blu-ray is a testosterone fuelled, high octane roller coaster ride of a movie that will be popular with the MTV generation. Jason Statham plays the lead role effectively, but it's the cars and the explosions that the audience is there to see.
The 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 picture quality is of a high calibre with its desaturated colours making for a visually stylish widescreen 2.35:1 presentation.
The demo quality English DTS HD MA 5.1 surround track really rocks in clarity as well as placing the effects accurately around the room. The bass extension is noteworthy as it adds to the depth of explosions and also the heavy rock music soundtrack.
The Featurettes contained within the Extras give an interesting insight into the making of the film and its effects.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.49
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- Digital copy