Deathsport (1978)

Producer Roger Corman’s Deathsport has long been pegged as a semi-sequel to Death Race 2000, but don’t you believe it. Although it reunites Corman with star David Carradine; has “death” in its title; and involves one effed-up sport of the not-too-distant future, it has nothing to do with that 1975 film, which is a satirical riot.

Even with Claudia Jennings dancing naked in a room strewn with Christmas lights, this one is boring. At least for the first 30 minutes, in which peaceniks on horses are zapped into oblivion by the bad guys. And hey, check out the so-called “mutants,” with ping-pong-ball eyes. Carradine and Jennings both find themselves held captive by Richard Lynch, in a cell bathed in depressing red light.

But then the games begin, and Deathsport kicks into higher gear, as our two heroes are given swords and forced to participate in a gladiatorial-style showdown wherein they’re pursued by souped-up-with-welded-metal motorcycles that make the same cartoony sound each and every time they swoop by.

Then it’s a chase for the remaining running time of a short, sweet 82 minutes. Hope you like motorcycles, fighting with torches, and some dumb-ass with blond hair who struggles to remember his lines. Bonus: woozy cycle-cam during obstacle course finale! —Rod Lott

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