Death Race

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Death Race
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IMDb: 6.4
  In the year 2012, the American economy collapses.  Unemployment hits record high and crime rates   spiral out of control. The prison system reaches  breaking point, so private corporations now run   all correctional facilities for profit.  Terminal Island Penitentiary streams a   series of cage fights live on the internet, and  prisoners fighting to the death become a rating   sensation. However, the audience soon becomes  bored and demands more, and that's how the Death   Race is born, a show where inmates race each  other to the death in specially modified cars   in order to win their freedom. In today's race,  there are only two cars left. One is driven by   masked inmate Frankenstein and his navigator  Case, and the other is Frank's oldest rival,   Machine Gun Joe. Both of them are nearing the  finish line and ready to do anything to win,   but for some reason, the weapons in Frank's car  aren't working. He improvises by releasing the   car's back shield, which hits Joe and earns Frank  some momentary advantage, but Joe hasn't given   up yet and still has the offensive leverage.  Case knows Joe will destroy them and wants out,   but Frank refuses to let Joe win, so Case ejects  herself out of the car as Frank crosses the finish   line at the same time Joe shoots it, winning  yet exploding in the process. Some days later,   industrial worker and ex-convict Jensen Ames  finds out the steel mill he works at is closing,   and they aren't even paying the workers the full  amount they owe him. As the workers start getting   agitated, the anti-riot police arrive and begin  beating them up at the smallest of provocations,   and seeing his coworkers get hurt causes Jensen to  jump into the fray and beat some cops in return.   Night has already fallen by the time he makes  it home. After saying hello to his wife, Jensen   checks on his baby upstairs, unaware that a masked  criminal is taking this chance to break into the   house and kill his wife. When Jensen returns to  the kitchen, the man knocks him out, puts the   murder weapon in Jensen's hand, and leaves after  making a shooting gesture with his gloved hand.   Jensen wakes up moments later to find the  police arresting him for the murder of his wife.   Six months later, Jensen is transferred to  Terminal Island Prison, where he is received by   Guard Ulrich, who sprays him with freezing water,  allows another cop to hit him, and takes him to a   cell with three other prisoners who intend to beat  him up. Ulrich comes to check on him, wanting to   enjoy seeing him in trouble, but Jensen is a good  fighter and has knocked all his cellmates out.   The next morning, Jensen goes to the chow hall  to have breakfast while being observed by Coach,   Gunner and Lists, who recognizes Jensen as a  former record-holder driver that killed his   career. The hall suddenly falls silent when  Pachenko and his friend approach Jensen to   provoke him, first by spitting on his food, then  calling him a woman killer and a kid abuser.   Jensen reacts by jumping on Pachenko to beat him  up, but they're soon interrupted by the cops, who   take Jensen to see Claire Hennessey, the prison  warden. She's seen Jensen's record and knows he's   a fantastic driver, so she makes him an offer:  she wants him to become the new Frankenstein.   The real one died on the operation table after  his last race, but nobody knows this yet,   so anyone could replace him under the mask.  Frank was an audience's favorite and a very   inspiring legend, which is why Hennessey  doesn't want the world to know he's dead,   she needs the legend to continue and bring back  the ratings, which have drastically fallen since   the real Frank died. The rules say that if  you win five races you earn your freedom,   so Jensen would only need to win one more because  Frankenstein already had four under his belt.   Jensen is still unsure about possibly risking  his life for this, but Hennessey threatens   him with solitary confinement if he doesn't  accept so he can't tell anybody her secret.   Jensen has no other choice but to go along with  it. Afterward, he's taken to the prison's auto   shop, where he's introduced to Coach and his men,  who are the mechanics in charge of Frankenstein's   car and will guide Jensen through the basics. Each  team has its own pit, and nobody helps each other;   there's also a giant shop where Hennessey has  been building something in secret for a month.   The only ones that will know Jensen is the new  Frankenstein are his team and very few guards,   because Hennessey's power over the prison is  absolute. Then Coach shows him the car he'll   be driving, a modified Mustang V8 Fastback.  It comes with a variety of both defensive   and offensive gadgets, but it doesn't get loaded  with ammo until race day so that prisoners can't   use it to try to escape. It's impossible to do  so anyway, because the prison is on an island,   so the only way out is through a small bridge that  would get swarmed with police cars and helicopters   at the first indication of prison break. Once  Jensen has acquainted himself with the car, he   and the team continue their chat at the prison's  backyard. The race has three stages, during the   first two he must try to get rid of as many  opponents as he can, and during the third one,   the key is speed to make it to the finish line.  All drivers count with a navigator companion,   which are girls brought from the women's facility.  The one exception to this rule is Joe, who prefers   to have a fellow team member as navigator instead  of a girl because he goes through them so fast, it   makes the audience squeamish. Lists starts telling  Jensen about the most important drivers then,   who are all in the yard with them. There's 14k,  a triad member and MIT graduate; Hector Grimm,   a certified psychopath that worships Hennessey;  Slovo Pachenko, leader of the Aryan Brotherhood in   the prison; and Travis Colt, a disgraced ex-NASCAR  superstar. Their talk is suddenly interrupted when   Joe and his team come over to insult Jensen and  leave a message for Frankenstein saying this race   is only between the two of them. At the moment, a  van brings back some inmates that have been doing   work detail, and Jensen notices something peculiar  on their wrists: they have GPS tracking bracelets,   and seeing them makes him realize the man  that killed his wife was wearing one as well.   When the day for the first race stage finally  comes, Jensen is given Frank's clothes, mask,   and even his ring to wear, and his mere presence  brings back all the viewers the show had lost.   Coach tells him not to talk to the other drivers  because Frank didn't, it was part of his mystique,   but he's allowed to take off his mask inside the  car because the windows are made of mirrored glass   and Case also knows the secret. While getting  ready, Jensen asks her what she's in prison for,   and she admits having killed a cop for being a bad  husband to her. The race starts a moment later,   and since weapons don't activate until the second  of three laps, the beginning isn't very violent,   although the drivers still try to push each  other off the track. Thanks to Case's knowledge   of the area, it's easy for Jensen to go  head-to-head with Joe at the very front,   managing to pass him into first place when  Case points out a shortcut he can take.   It's then that Hennessey turns on the shield and  weapons, which are manholes on the ground that a   driver needs to go over with all four wheels to  activate their car gadgets. Soon there is open   fire on the track, and when Hennessey activates  the death heads too, Grimm kills a minor driver   by pushing his car against it. He also causes  Joe to fall behind after shooting oil at his car,   but he loses the race when 14K pushes him off  track with a missile and Joe runs him over.   Meanwhile, Jensen manages to activate the weapons,  but the machine gun gets stuck, so Case gets on   the hood of the car to fix it, causing the  others to concentrate their bullets on her.   Jensen's skills allow him to dodge them  all though, and Case returns safely to the   passenger seat afterward. Jensen steals a defense  manhole from Colt, but as it happened to Frank,   none of his defense systems will work, and  the rear shield won't survive much longer.   Luckily, Jensen thinks of a plan on the spot: he  makes Case unhook the napalm and sit on his lap,   so he can launch her chair with the napalm on it.  It's Colt's car that gets hit, and now that it's   covered with napalm, Case throws the car's lighter  at it, lighting it on fire and getting him off the   race. With Colt gone, Jensen goes head-to-head  with Joe again, but he is suddenly distracted by   Pachenko, who makes the same hand gesture the man  that killed his wife made at him before leaving.   Joe takes advantage of this and pushes  Jensen's car back, causing him to come last   while Pachenko gets first place. Three drivers  are dead, and six remain for the second stage.   After the race, Coach and his men check the car  and notice the gadgets are working properly,   so it doesn't explain why they wouldn't activate  when they had to. Jensen goes to see Hennessey   to tell her he won't race anymore because he  knows Pachenko killed his wife and all this   has been a set-up to frame him so she could  get a new driver to replace Frankenstein.   She doesn't admit to it, but she does show him a  picture of his daughter and the foster home she's   gone to, reminding Jensen that he should play  along if he wants to see his daughter again.   Not being able to do anything about it, Jensen  goes back to the yard, where he chats with Coach   and asks him why he doesn't wear a number. Coach  explains he is technically not a prisoner anymore,   he qualified for parole three years ago, but he  couldn't make bring himself to cross the gate. The   world had changed too much, and he preferred the  familiarity of the races. He also doesn't believe   Jensen killed his wife. Later in the evening,  while working on the car, Jensen sees Pachenko   passing by and decides to follow him to his  pit, where he gets captured by Pachenko's team.   He punches Jensen a couple of times before  grabbing a heavy tool to smash his head,   not caring if he has Hennesey's protection,  but he's stopped by Lists, who stabs him on   his back with a pen. Jensen takes advantage of  the distraction to grab a metal shard from the   ground and stab his captor, then he knocks him  and his friend out before going after Pachenko.   He punches him, throws him around, and hits him  with various boxes until Pachenko admits Hennessey   made him kill his wife and Ulrich was the one to  take him there. When Jensen gets ready to kill him   in revenge, Ulrich shows up with another guard and  stops the fight. The next day, right before the   second stage of the race begins, Pachenko teases  Jensen by making the same hand gesture at him.   However, Jensen doesn't fall for the provocation  - in fact, he starts driving slowly on purpose and   takes a tunnel so he can talk to Case in private.  He wonders if she killed Frank because he finds   it suspicious that the car's gadgets malfunctioned  two races in a row, and he threatens her to expell   her off the car if she doesn't answer. Case  admits having sabotaged Frank's rear weapons   because Hennessey would reward her with her  freedom. The goal was never to kill Frank, though,   that was an accident caused by him still trying to  win with no weapons; Hennessey's goal was to make   him lose to keep him in prison, racing for the  public. Now that he has his answer, Jensen speeds   up and easily slides back into the race, ignoring  Joe for now - his objective this time is Pachenko.   After the two of them unsuccessfully  try to push each other off the track,   Jensen drives ahead and takes the weapons manhole  instead of defense. This confuses everyone because   the weapons are at the front of the car, so  Jensen surprises them by suddenly turning the car   around and opening fire on Pachenko while driving  backward. After he's damaged the other car enough,   he turns around again and hits the smoke, causing  Pachenko to crash against a concrete barrier.   Then Jensen stops his car and gets out to approach  Pachenko and break his neck as revenge for his   killing his wife. Between this and Joe deciding  to change his navigator in the middle of the race,   Hennessey decides it's the right moment to release  the thing she's been building all this time:   a multi-weapon tanker truck called Dreadnought.  This truck is incredibly powerful and quickly   catches up with the drivers, immediately killing  two minor competitors. Since it belongs to the   warden, it also has the benefit of being  allowed inside the buildings, which lets   it take a shortcut and appear at the front of the  race. The Dreadnought slowly kills 14K's navigator   before grabbing his car with chains and shooting  at it until it explodes, which means only Jensen   and Joe are left. There is no way they can  defeat such a monster without a proper plan,   so Jensen asks Lists to connect his communicator  to Joe's car and they agreed to work together.   They flank the truck with their cars, doing  their best to dodge any incoming attacks,   and when a trap manhole appears in front of them,  each of them hits it with two wheels, getting the   four needed to activate it. This causes the tap  to come up and the truck to crash against it. Now   the second stage of the race is over, and Jensen  and Joe will be the only drivers making it to the   third. Later in the evening, Joe comes over to  Jensen's pit to point out his voice suspiciously   sounds a lot like Frank's, but he doesn't push  for answers. Meanwhile, Ulrich and Hennessey   decide that they need to kill Jensen since the  Frankenstein mask can still be worn by someone   else in the future. The following day, before the  race starts, Ulrich puts a bomb under Jensen's car   while Hennessey distracts everyone with a speech  about racing being their life's purpose. When she   mentions this may be the first time someone  may win their freedom with a fifth victory,   Jensen realizes that they always rig the races to  eliminate anyone that could possibly win for the   fifth time and that's why nobody has ever achieved  it before, which means he won't be allowed to win   today either. Coach hears this conclusion and,  once they're allowed to go back to the auto-shop,   decides to show Jensen a very important detail on  a video of Grimm's death. This gives him an idea   for a plan, and he asks Lists to add a half-gallon  reserve tank to his car before going to Joe's   pit to ask him to collaborate with him again.  While Jensen is changing into Frank's clothes,   Hennessey visits him to give him his release  papers and to make him a new offer: if he wins,   she wants him to stay in prison and continue to be  Frankenstein because the track is where belongs.   She claims he isn't daddy material and an  ex-con couldn't give his daughter a good life,   so choosing to stay would be an incredible  unselfish act of love. Jensen goes to join   the race without giving her an answer yet, but he  does put away the release papers in his pocket.   When he gets in his car, Case admits Hennessey  also spoke to her and asked her to stop Jensen if   he was about to win, but he doesn't worry about  it. As soon as the race begins, Ulrich starts   controlling the manholes so they only activate  when Joe goes over them. He opens fire at Jensen   as soon as he is able to, damaging his back  shield so much that Jensen decides to drop it.   However, Joe easily dodges it, having already  learned the trick from when Frank did the same.   Hennessey activates a defense manhole for Jensen  to take in order to keep the viewers interested,   but Joe launches a rocket at it, destroying it. He  has more rockets to go and he launches them all at   Jensen, who dodges them and lets them hit a wall.  This wall was the one behind Grimm when he died,   and it's already weakened because of that old  explosion. So today Jensen and Joe have been   calculating their attacks for them to land on the  weak spot, and now the rockets hit it for a final   blow that opens a hole and allows them to escape  the prison. Furious, Hennessey ends the stream   and sends all available cops after them before  pressing the bomb detonator, but nothing happens.   Coach and his men had already removed the bomb  from the car and deactivated it. Joe and Jensen   make it to the bridge, but the police cars are  getting closer, so it's time to pull the next   part of his plan: Jensen releases that extra half  gallon reserve tank, which hits the cars behind   them, causing an explosion and a wall of fire  that prevents any other cars from chasing them.   Both convicts manage to cross the bridge gates  and take two different roads so that all the   helicopters only follow Jensen, who is the  most important of the two. As Joe drives away,   Case agrees to help Jensen with  the last part of his plan because   she owes it to Frank and Hennessey has  already given her the release papers,   so they'll be obliged to let her go. When they  are passing by some construction cranes, Jensen   jumps off the car under their shadows and hides in  there while Case takes his place at the wheel. She   only gets to drive a couple of miles more before  the helicopters stop her with a wall of fire, but   when she comes out of the car with her hands up,  she's wearing Frank's clothes and mask. Since most   people don't know about the identity exchange, the  cops arrest her and take her back to the prison,   allowing Jensen to escape and meet with Joe  so they can board a freight train together.   Back in the prison offices, Ulrich says the  ratings are off the charts and congratulating   gifts are already arriving. Hennessey opens  the gift box he's brought and finds the bomb   Ulric had put under Jensen's car, which then  explodes, killing them both. Outside in the track,   Coach can be seen having pressed the detonator.  Six months later, Joe and Jensen have made a   new life in Santa Rosalia, Mexico. They work  together as mechanics in their own auto shop,   and Jensen has regained custody of his  daughter. Case visits them too after her   release papers finally get processed, bringing  with her a racing car for them to check out.
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