Death Race 3: Inferno appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Overall, the image looked great.
Sharpness consistently remained excellent. At all times, the movie featured tight, accurate delineation, and it didn’t show any signs of jaggies, shimmering or edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent as well.
Colors tended toward an amber feel, though a few livelier tones occasionally emerged. These came across as full and appealing within the visual design. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed accurate and well-rendered. No issues popped up in this solid presentation.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked well, albeit in an awfully aggressive manner. This was one of the more active mixes I’ve heard in a while, and I thought it could be too hyperactive. The audio threw material at us without respite, and this could become fatiguing.
However, that was the movie’s intention, as the whole thing played out as “in your face”, so I couldn’t fault the mix. Despite the excessive level of activity, the track still managed to give us well-placed material and a fairly involving sense of the different settings. Vehicles zoomed around the room and other violent elements opened up the mix well.
Audio quality was always strong. Music sounded peppy and full, while speech appeared crisp and distinctive. Effects were also accurate and dynamic. This was a track that seemed worthy of a “B+”.
The disc includes both the rated (1:44:50) and unrated (1:45:12) versions of Inferno. What do you get for that extra 32 seconds? I have no idea, as I only watched the slightly longer cut. Nonetheless, I wanted to mention the presence of both versions.
With that we head to an audio commentary from director Roel Reiné. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/character subjects and connections to the other Death Race movies, budgetary issues, vehicles and design, cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, various effects, editing and cinematography, music, and a few other areas.
While I don’t care for Reiné’s movie, I think he provides an entertaining commentary. He covers a nice array of subjects and does so with real gusto. The director keeps the enthusiasm level high and turns this into a fun and informative chat.
In addition to an Alternate Opening (5:21), we find nine Deleted Scenes (11:50). The “Alternate Opening” simply spells out its preliminary exposition in a different way; I don’t see it as better or worse than the existing opening.
As for the nine deleted scenes, some of the shots already appear in the “Alternate Opening”; those concern how Carl became “Frankenstein”. Most of the sequences give the supporting characters a bit more exposition, and those might’ve been helpful; they articulate the story better than the rock-em, sock-em final product. I doubt these would’ve made Inferno a good flick, but at least it might’ve had a little more substance.
We also locate a Deleted Shots Montage. It goes for four minutes, 59 seconds and delivers what it promises: a collection of short trims. None of these become substantial enough to qualify as full-fledged deleted scenes, so they get packaged together here. Nothing especially interesting appears, partially because the montage format makes them a bit of a mess; the end product almost feels like a weird music video.
Three featurettes follow. The Making of Death Race 3: Inferno lasts 10 minutes, 39 seconds and provides comments from Reiné, producer Mike Elliott, production designer Andrew Orlando, associate producer Greg Holstein, stunt coordinator Grant Hulley, SFX coordinator Cordell McQueen, stunt driver Allen Irwin, stunt performer Brian Svosve, foreman Paul Pietrese, and actors Dougray Scott, Danny Trejo, Luke Goss, Fred Koehler, Ving Rhames, Robin Shou, Tanit Phoenix, Hluti Mboya, Katja Hopkins, and Shaamilla Noordien. They discuss driving and stunts, Reiné’s work on the set, cast, characters and performances. We get a few useful sequences here – mostly related to stunts and action – but much of the program feels like fluffy promotion.
Racing for Death runs five minutes, 57 seconds and features Reiné, Koehler, Elliott, Phoenix, Holstein, Goss, Orlando, Shou, Hulley, vehicle designer Alex Wheeler, and stunt driver Craig Sobotker. This one looks at the design and assembly of the movie’s vehicles. Like the prior piece, it’s not a meaty program, but it has enough interesting tidbits to make it worth a look.
Finally, the five-minute, 21-second Art Imitating Life: Goldberg includes notes from Elliott, Koehler, Trejo, and Shou. This one looks at the life and career of Trejo. It’s a quick but reasonably enjoyable overview.
The disc opens with ads for Dead in Tombstone, Guns, Girls & Gambling, the Transformers theme park attraction, Grimm, Hit and Run, End of Watch and Silent Hill. No trailer for Inferno pops up here.
A second disc delivers a DVD Copy of Inferno. This provides a standard retail copy of the film, so it offers more value than it otherwise might.
I thought the first film in the series was poor, and Death Race 3: Inferno does nothing to elevate the franchise. It might actually be a crummier piece of work than the original, as it delivers nothing but hyperactive visuals with little point and no excitement. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture and audio along with a decent set of bonus materials led by an engaging audio commentary. While the Blu-ray delivers a high-quality product, the movie itself flops.