Death Race—Universal (Blu-ray)

Video: 4.75/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 4/5

Welcome to the "Death Race", where hardened convicts and smoking-hot navigators race tricked-out cars in the most twisted spectator sport on Earth! Sentenced to the world's most dangerous prison for a murder he did not commit, Jensen Ames has only one chance to get out alive - win the ultimate race to the death.

For those not familiar with Death Race it is essentially a reimagining of the rather infamous B movie of the 70’s that featured Sylvester Stallone and David Caradine. I had watched the original early this year with a friend for laughs and was floored when I saw a remake was hitting the theaters. The original was pretty horrible but has a cult following attached. This new one wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting and for a non-stop action popcorn flick it does its job. Lots of explosions and testosterone. I can guarantee you won’t get bored in it!

Universal has been churning out some really great HD transfers and this is no exception. The stylized imagery is chocked full of great fine detail and amazing contrast. The image has a very cold and desaturated look with almost no color to speak of. Blacks are inky and shadow detail is sacrificed to keep the image as dark as possible. Whites are very cool and add some nice highlights to the contrasty image. Depth and dimension are exceptional and fine film grain is preserved beautifully. While not a “pleasant” image, it nailed the intent.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is a non-stop assault through the racing sequences, which make up the good majority of the film. Plenty of explosions, great low bass extension and a wide open soundstage. Surround use is aggressive and there are some great panning effects throughout. The balance within the mix is excellent and the dialogue is always easy to understand, even within the madness. A solid audio presentation in every way.

Universal once again adds some new goodies to their interactivity features and stays on the bleeding edge of what Blu-ray can deliver. For this one you can record your own commentary or video sequence using clips from the film and share them with friends on BD-Live. There is also a chat feature so you can chat along with your friends while you watch. A full picture-in-picture feature is included that gives you a look behind the scenes of the production with interviews and on set footage and you can check out the tech specs of all the cars and characters and more during the film. Another production feature gives you some insight into the production including post production effects works and there is a great stunt feature for the film. A full length audio commentary is also included.

A fare more entertaining ride than I would have ever expected and for those looking for mindless action fun, check this one out. Universal has done a fantastic job with the package yet again. Recommended.