Universal Pictures and director Roel Reiné (The Marine 2, The Lost Tribe) have begun principle photography on Death Race 2, the new prequel to Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2008, Death Race.
The film started shooting on February 13th in Cape Town, South Africa and will become a member of Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s DVD Originals line, which just means straight to video.
The original was actually a remake of the 1975 film, Death Race 2000. The story is similar to that of Escape from New York, and it takes place in a dystopian future where a prison inmate is offered his freedom if he takes on the persona of Frankenstein — a legendary racer who recently perished — and can win five Death Races. These races are put on by the corporations who own the prisons, and they are aired as a futuristic reality show, which brings more viewers than any other show can ever dream of, and an unbelievable amount of income.
This prequel will tell the story of Frankenstein and how he first showed up as just another prisoner before becoming the most popular name in Death Race history. And considering this is a prequel, I’m not sure why the title currently has a “2″ in it instead of a sub-title and if this will change. IMDB has it listed as Death Race: Frankenstein Lives, which is a little better, but still implies sequel. I would look for adjustments to be made there.
Death Race 2 takes 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. Convicted cop-killer Carl Lucas arrives on the Island to serve his life sentence just as ruthlessly ambitious television personality September Jones launches 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. When Lucas signs up to be a driver, the stage is set for the birth of a legendary racer.
Although this is a direct-to-DVD title, which never bodes well for a movie, the cast is actually rather impressive. The lead role of Carl Lucas will be played by Luke Goss (Blade II, Hellboy II: The Golden Army). He’ll be joined by Ving Rhames (Dawn of the Dead, Pulp Fiction), Sean Bean (National Treasure, Lord of the Rings trilogy), Danny Trejo (Grindhouse, Machete), Frederick Koehler (Oz, Touching Evil), and Lauren Cohan (Supernatural).
The movie is written by Tony Giglio (Chaos, Timber Falls) with a release likely for later in 2010, early 2011.