Sometimes a movie comes along that I just know I’m going to love. Death Race is not that movie. Vicious prison inmates drag racing to their deaths? Unless it happens to be an episode of Bad Girls, I think not. I have to say, though, that a certain someone has caused me to reconsider — Joan Allen, to be exact.
Allen plays Warden Hennessey, the corrupt prison matron of Terminal Island. If you’ve never quite understood the meaning of the term “sociopath,” her character could teach you. She would be quite strict, too, with authority oozing from every pore. Uh, what was I talking about again?
Oh, yes, Joan Allen as the prison warden who forces prisoners to participate in violent races and reaps financial rewards via pay-per-view broadcasts of the contests. The year is 2012, and whoever was elected president apparently did not fix the economy. The U.S. is in a depression, crime rules the streets and reality TV has morphed into a futuristic version of Extreme Gladiators called — wait for it — Death Race. The show features felons in armored cars with full artillery racing for freedom or death, with nary a Pennzoil logo in sight.
If you’re wondering why Allen took a role like this, you’re not alone. She has been asked as much at every promotional interview for the movie. Her answer? “It was just really fun.”
Here’s how Allen describes Warden Hennessey:
She’s very rich looking because the death race is wildly successful and profitable. And so this is a woman who wears the best Dolce & Gabanna [sic] and looks amazing and has a tremendous amount of power. Even just putting on the clothes and the heels gives you this sense of weight and authority.
Excuse me for a moment while I get some air.
On her sexual chemistry with the prisoners:
…there is a sexual tension. That kind of power is sexy in a way. I never believed when I was doing the character that she every acted on it because it would give her power up. She finds power incredibly sexy.
Is it hot in here or is it just me?
Lest I lead you astray by too much focus on Joan, here’s the trailer to remind you that Death Race likely will not be on the Academy’s list next spring.
Chuck’s Natalie Martinez stars as Case, the mechanic who helps Jenson (Jason Statham) race for his life. I don’t know about you, but Martinez is welcome under my hood any time.
Is Death Race your kind of movie? Is Joan Allen enough to make you see it? Do you think a TV show like Death Race will ever be a reality?