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20/20 Filmsight - Film Criticism by David O'Connell

Film Criticism by David O'Connell


December 11th 2008 23:11
Deathsport David Carradine

Another Roger Corman produced movie makes its way onto Filthy Fridays, this time taking the B-movie into an apocalyptic future, where civilization has been reduced to isolated cities and groups of nomads that wander the barren plains.

As with many movies that feature on Filthy Fridays, "Deathsport" is a terrible, terrible movie, made for a shoestring budget, to capitalize on some of the popular trends of the day: the first Star Wars film, "Rollerball" and the surprising success of "Death Race 2000".

Corman got David Carradine, lead from "Death Race 2000", to star in this sci-fi flick, gave director Allan Arkush a tiny budget and told him to put some Playboy Playmates in the film. Claudia Jennings was cast as one of the female rangers, capable of bringing the pain to the film's equivalent of Stormtroopers.

Part of the pain in watching this film is the monotonous footage of motorcycle racing - the film uses the idea of "deathsport", a gladatorial arena where prisoners are forced to fight against citizens driving motorcycles armed with disintegrator rays.

There's little point in describing more of the film, though you can fill in the blanks yourself. Carradine and Jennings are desert guides, who speak in awful pseudo-spiritual dialogue and then get freaky and couple in soft-lighting to the soundtrack of electronic dischordia.

If you can stand it:

Why would I review a movie that appears to be this awful? Well, despite the failings of the film, I'm still amazed that someone would put this much effort into a production of this obvious failing. Carradine was a rather big name and Jennings would go on to star in a number of B-movies - even the soundtrack has a big name attached to it: Jerry Garcia!

If any movie is begging to be remade, it's this - the concept isn't bad, but the execution was flawed from conception. There's enough fake history given in the film to create an interesting futuristic film, one that could examine the path that humanity took to get to this apocalypse. Not an original plot, but one that could be refashioned into something interesting, instead of dulling the viewer's senses with more motorcycle footage.

I say: Only for B-movie lovers!

See it for: Filthy Friday readers will love the natural look of the women - it's almost hard to imagine a time when Playboy didn't feature models that had nearly identical figures and faces. Jennings is surprisingly good in front of the camera, and there's a notorious dance scene in the film that raises eyebrows.

*this image is from a lengthy, detailed review on Jabootu

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3 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Kleonaptra

December 11th 2008 23:57
Well, this sucked me right in -

apocalyptic future, where civilization has been reduced to isolated cities and groups of nomads that wander the barren plains.

I can build a plot right there. Dozens in fact! I think you lost me with the motorbikes....But...Notorious dance scene?....*raises eyebrows*

Comment by Mike Crowl

December 12th 2008 23:35
The B-movie idea was an interesting concept: make a cheapie movie with or without big names, and throw it in alongside a decent movie in the programming. It couldn't lose money, and it might even do well. Pity they vanished, as occasionally someone made a B-movie that turned out really well.
And then there were those made for TV movies; the production values were higher, but they were made at great speed and so all the acting had that feel of the actors only just having learned their lines and where to stand. Some of them turned out all right too.
Even these seem to have vanished, pretty much. What have we got instead? Reality TV?

Comment by Cibbuano

December 16th 2008 03:32
Kleo - yes, notorious... there's a ridiculous gratuitous scene, where a wonderfully voluptuous woman dances nude among brightly coloured lights. So weirdly fascinating.

Mike- totally agree. I'd love to bring the B-movie back... no CGI, cheap props!

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