Warning: Death Race is NOT a good movie.
If you are looking for quality cinema rife with complex cinematography, a gripping plot, extensive character development, or any sort of "overall message," just pick up your copy of Citizen Kane or something and get the hell out of here.
Then again, if you are looking for a balls-to-the-wall, totally nonsensical, loud, flashy, explody, poorly scripted way to entertain yourself on a long, dull, afternoon while stuffing yourself with cheezy poofs...you may want to check this out.
Jason Statham plays Jensen Ames, a former race car driver who finds himself at Terminal Island penitentiary. In the film, Terminal Island is famous for the "Death Race," a web-broadcast competition where prisoners compete in a vehicular battle to the death in order to win the chance for freedom. Jensen has to navigate life in the prison, preparing for the race with his new friends (including Coach, his mentor, played by Ian McShane) while avoiding both his dangerous competition and the prison warden (Joan Allen) who has plans of her own.
As I said, the plot is fairly stupid, and often sacrifices character and plot for explosions and gun battles. However, Jason Statham takes off his shirt quite a bit and snarls pithy witticisms in his sexy sexy accent, Ian McShane growls his own pithy witticisms in his own sexy accent, and there is a hot chick who doesn't really say much. Some of the car scenes are cool, though the film could probably have easily been stretched out for another half an hour in order to provide a little more context. On the whole, while I probably wouldn't watch this again, I sure as hell enjoyed it.
(I can't say how this compares to the original film, Death Race 2000 with Sylvester Stallone because Netflix has been unable to send it to me yet.)