2008 · United States, Germany, United Kingdom - Paul W. S. Anderson
In 2012, the economy of the United States collapses. Unemployment and crime rates skyrocket, and the sharp increase of convicted criminals leads to the privatization of prisons for profit. For pay-per-view entertainment, a modern gladiator game called “Death Race” is invented at the Terminal Island penitentiary using the prisoners as players. Drivers are paired with navigators to assist them with maintenance, weapons, and track guidance. There are three types of special pads on the track, shields, swords, and death heads, that a car can activate by running over with all four tires. Shields activate a car's defensive weapons, swords activate a car's offensive weapons, and death heads, when activated, extends a column of spikes out of the ground that impales a passing/pursuing car, and then retracts back into the ground, crushing the car and finishing off any survivors. A single Death Race takes place over three days and is divided into three stages. The first two stages are elimination rounds, where drivers eliminate as much competition as they can without getting themselves killed. The remaining drivers then compete in the final stage, where the goal is to be the first to cross the finish line without getting killed. If a driver can survive and win five races, they’re freed, though so far every participant has died.