Deathsport (1978)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B

USA, 1978.  .  Story by , Screenplay by Nicholas Niciphor, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by

David Carradine stars in this semi-sequel to Death Race 2000 as a “guide” in a society whose post-apocalyptic landscape has people living either in the freedom of the desert or the oppression of domed cities.  Guides like himself wander the arid land dressed only in fancy underwear and a cape, a life he enjoys until he is captured and forced to compete as a gladiator in the “deathsport”, a contest held in a large stadium (which we only see the same matte shot painting of twice) and which mainly is done on tricked-out, futuristic motorcycles.  Cheesy weapons, illogical dialogue and a weird combination of fantasy elements (incorporating both sword-and-sorcery obsession with Star Wars stuff) make for a giant fail, but one whose kitschiest elements will provide some fun for the right fans of cultish oddities: it’s a movie where women being punished for their crimes are forced to do stripteases with electrified poles, adjust your expectations accordingly.  Carradine gives it his all, the man is not there to be laughed at and there’s something to be said for how committed he is, while has a great time as the ridiculous villain, but those cool diaphanous swords can’t cover up the fact that a story we are expecting to be about the fights in the arena is mostly ignored and the film spends almost no time in that venue.  Roger Corman served as uncredited third director.

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