Deathsport (1978) | The futuristic gladiators-on-motorcycles B-movie on Blu-ray

From 101 Films comes the UK Blu-ray release of Deathsport, from maverick producer Roger Corman, starring David Carradine.

‘In the year 3000, there’ll be no more Olympic Games, World Series, or Superbowl; there’ll be only DEATHSPORT!’

Following the Great Neutron Wars, the world is divided into desert wastelands and isolated city-states. Lord Zirpola (David McLean) captures the notorious ‘death ranger’ Kaz (David Carradine) to fight for survival opposite his laser-equipped Death Machines in his new game, Deathsport. Now Kaz must face his past, fight for his future, and save the city from the war that Lord Zirpola is getting ready to wage.

Produced under Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, Deathsport was, and sort of is, a follow-up to Corman’s successful 1975 sci-fi actioner Death Race 2000. Again, it stars David Carradine, who had a five-picture contract with Corman, and this time motorbikes feature instead of cars. Production-wise, it looks like one of those US TV shows of the 1970s like Logan’s Run or The Fantastic Journey, while the film’s Death Machines are actually cheaply refurbed dirt bikes with an annoying/overly repetitive sound effect dubbing in for their engine sound.

Supporting Carradine, who looks like he’s aping his Kung Fu TV character, Playboy Playmate Claudia Jennings (who tragically died in a car accident a year after the film was released) co-stars as a fellow ranger with her own mission, while screen villain Richard Lynch plays Kaz’s torturer. Apart from the climactic pyrotechnics, it’s really not that much cop – but the last word should go to director Allan Arkush, who was brought in to complete the film when original director, Nicholas Niciphor, left the project on medical grounds:

‘Mostly, we just blew up motorcycles. Lots of them. We also set some mutants on fire. And the stunning Claudia Jennings got naked. David Carradine… smoked a lot of high-grade weed and helped us to blow stuff up… Sad to say, I couldn’t save the picture.’

• Commentary with co-director Allan Arkush and Editor Larry Bock
• Theatrical trailer
• TV Spot
• Radio Spot
• Still Gallery
• English subtitles


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on January 25, 2023, in Might-See, Sci-Fi. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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