Race riot

PUBLISHED: 13:24 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 17:13 16 August 2010

WITH the international successes of Mortal Kombat, AVP: Alien vs. Predator and the Resident Evil franchise,

WITH the international successes of Mortal Kombat, AVP: Alien vs. Predator and the Resident Evil franchise, Paul W S Anderson has become one of only a handful of Brits to make to make a name for himself in Hollywood.

Now, the writer/director has brought his blend of gore-packed action and arresting visuals to bear on Death Race, a remake of Roger Corman's 1975 cult B-movie thriller where the contestants in the titular race aped across the country in muscle cars, retro-fitted with gruesome weaponry and mow down pedestrians all in the name of entertainment.

The film stars Jason Statham as Jensen Ames, a former racing driver who is forced to pose as the recently deceased ratings-winner Frankenstein in the Death Race or face life in prison after being framed for the murder of his beloved wife. It has been more than 10 years in planning and is something of a pet project for Anderson.

"I love the movie. What can I say" he enthuses, "I am really proud of the film and I am in love with it. You get to this point when you are making a movie, and you have seen it so many times, that the last thing you want to do is sit down and watch your own film again. But I've got to say with this movie, whenever we screen it for the actors to see, I am happy to sit there and watch it again. I really love the movie and I really am proud of making it."

Long before filming on the project began Anderson met up with Corman, one of the key figures in the New Hollywood movement of the 60s and 70s and director of the original film, to secure the rights for the remake. Corman not only agreed to hand over the rights but also came on board to produce the film.

"Basically, it's been like Roger's come along for a drive with us while we've been driving his car," Anderson explains. "We could never have made the film without Roger. He gave me the rights to make it 14 years ago. It took a long time to make and there were plenty of opportunities when he could have taken the rights away. He didn't. He stood by me and believed in my vision for the film; I am very grateful for that."

* Death Race opens in cinemas on September 26.

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