The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated/R
Feature running time: 106/105 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Luke Goss, Fred Koehler, Tanit Phoenix, Dougray Scott, Robin Shou, Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames,
Directed by: Roel Reine
Music by: Trevor Morris
Written by: Tony Giglio
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 22, 2013
Repentant convict Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) — aka Frankenstein— is a legendary driver in the brutal prison blood sport known as Death Race. Only one victory away from winning freedom, Lucas is plunged into his most vicious competition yet: the first ever Desert Death Race. Through South Africa’s infernal Kalahari Desert, Lucas is pitted against ruthless adversaries and powerful forces at work behind the scenes to ensure his defeat. Also, starring Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames, Death Race 3: Inferno is an insane, action packed thrill-ride.
Death Race 3: Infernotakes place in the very near future, as the United States economy begins to decline and violent crime starts to spiral out of control. To contain the growing criminal population, a vast network of for-profit, private prisons springs up, creating a lawless subculture ruled by gangs, cold-blooded killers and sociopaths. The worst of these prisons is Terminal Island, where inmates fight each other in a highly rated televised death match, where there are no rules, and the winner is the one who survives the gladiator-style, noholds-barred competition. Convicted cop-killer Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) arrives to serve his life sentence as a ruthlessly ambitious television personality successfully evolves the death match into the ultimate reality show – Death Race. A brutal prison yard demolition derby that pits prisoners against each other in steel reinforced, heavily armed vehicles, Death Race offers the winner the ultimate prize: freedom — if he can survive to enjoy it.
Gaining popularity as the masked and fierce competitor known as Frankenstein, Carl and his support team need just one more victory to win their freedom. Just before the stage is set for the final race on Terminal Island entrepreneur Nile York steps in and proceeds with a hostile takeover of the Death Race franchise. In a move inspired completely by greed he moves the match to the South African desert plains outfitting the tournament vehicles for dune racing and more aggressive killing. He paints his prized racer into a corner by changing the rules leaving Frankenstein no choice but to go along. Little does he know that the real game has only just begun.
After the abysmalDeath Race 2, a straight to video prequel to the original Death Race, inspired by Roger Corman’s cult classic Death Race 2000I didn’t figure on another Death Race film. I am a fan of and own the original DR starring Jason Statham and honestly didn’t see the need for the second installment. Here we are treated to more of the same. An unconvincing antagonist played by Dougray Scott, whom I don’t mind per se but the dialogue is poorly written and his take on the character is laughable at times. The storyline is both contrived and rail thin as we are once again treated to a one trick pony that tries to setup the plot with cardboard cutouts for characters and unnecessary elements of drama that simply don’t belong.
I have no trouble with thin plots that simply serve to get us to the action but don’t insult the intelligence of viewers by injecting overdrawn components that aren’t supported, it’s distracting. Like DR2, I didn’t mind Luke Goss in the lead role. Returning cast members Tanit Phoenix, Robin Shou, Fred Koheler and Danny Trejo reprise their characters. I found the special effects and action to be fairly decent. It doesn’t break new ground when compared to the first two films but I found it to be entertaining enough to keep interest going. From that perspective there might be some merit to be found in Death Race 3: Inferno if one completely removes the thought processes associated with a gratifying story. Both a rated and unrated version of the film is included. I watched the unrated cut (which adds a minute or so to the rated cut’s runtime) during my evaluation.
Both versions contain violence and language throughout and sexual content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Death Race 3: Inferno comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This is stylized video presentation that makes use of darker color schemes and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers strive for to drive the story’s components. Its predominantly sepia toned aesthetic is broken up by splashes of vivid primary colors, crimson, and warm golden accents. Bold use of contrast and rich blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with punchy whites and dark dynamic highlights. Shadow delineation is strong and revealing of discernible detail visible in darkened backgrounds and low level wide angle shots. Resolution is excellent, particularly in brightly lit sequences, as images are characterized by definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. Shot in high definition I saw no signs of artifacts or extraneous noise. The 1.78:1 framed video has a whistle clean aesthetic that looked terrific on my big screen.
This 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is fairly aggressive and features an active surround mix that has extended dynamic range that positively renders the bombastic nature of the elements in the recording. The action based sequences transform the listening area into a three dimensional sound field filled via immersive surround activity that mates perfectly with the events unfolding onscreen. Low frequency effects produce deep bass that rumbles with tactile authority as it pressurizes the room. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produced just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers. This is a wonderfully involving and dynamically rewarding sound design that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation and rhythmically charged bass extension. My advice is to crank this one up, sit back and enjoy.
- (HD) Alternate opening – 5 minutes
- (HD) 9 deleted scenes
- (HD) Deleted shots montage – 5 minutes
- (HD) The making of Death Race 3: Inferno – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Racing for death – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) Art imitating life: Goldberg – 5 minute featurette
- Feature commentary with director Roel Reine
- My Scenes bookmark feature
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Death Race 3: Inferno is the third installment in the Death Race film series. It’s a direct to video follow up to 2010’s Death Race 2. Like Death Race 2, Inferno suffers from an overly contrived plot, shallow storyline and uninspired characters that leave it feeling unremarkable and flat. Its saving grace is an excellent presentation on Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. I found the high definition video to be top notch and the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack will rock your home theater. The middling special features don’t offer much but are worth checking out if you like the film. I can’t in good conscience recommend Death Race 3: Inferno however if you are looking solely for an entertaining home theater experience it’s worth checking out.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package