Race or die …
Human race is a drive-in classic that was created years after the heyday of the drive-in; at least it follows the maxim of legendary drive-in critic Joe Bob Briggs, “the first rule of a great drive-in cinema: anyone can die at any time.”
The establishment of Human race is that everyone in a block, 80 souls in total, are snatched from their lives by a white light, thrown into a strange obstacle course and say, “School, home and prison are safe.” . Follow the arrows or you will die. Stay on the path or you will die. If you are lapped twice, you will die. Do not touch the grass or you will die. Race or die.
And of course, there can only be one winner. Paraphrase Glengarry Glen Ross, “Anyone want to see the second prize?” The second prize is a set of steak knives. (To the chest) The third prize is
you are fired your head is exploding.
It sets up a dark survival horror story, with a unique set of characters you typically don’t see in this kind of image, including a homeless woman, two deaf best friends, a WWII marine. world in a walker, an eight-year-old woman months pregnant, two Korean children (brother and older sister) and a one-legged Iraqi veteran, played by Eddie McGee.
Eddie is awesome in the movie, showing off charisma, acting skills, and action hero chops. He’s faster and more agile on crutches than some people on two feet. Trained in Toronto by one of Jackie Chan’s students, Eddie does all of his own stunts, including a mind-blowing fight streak. There’s also a big moment where Eddie demonstrates how nimble he is with crutches, sliding sideways like a metal spider.
According to director Paul Hough, he had a Hollywood interest in his script, but no one wanted him to do it with Eddie McGee in the cast. It’s sad that Hollywood, which has already awarded two Oscars for the same role to Harold Russell – the handleless actor who played Homer Parrish in William Wyler The best years of our life, can no longer recognize the value of having a true outsider in a film like this. (Okay Russell didn’t get many more Hollywood roles, but at least in 1946 they were able to recognize the moment when a great screenplay and a unique actor crossed paths.)
The presence of so many characters demonstrating their ability to overcome their drawbacks is both inspiring and wickedly cruel. This is best demonstrated by the pair of deaf friends, who are first delighted to be able to “hear” for the first time, only to become discouraged when they realize that the only thing they will be able to hear are the sailing instructions and the dark countdown of 80 runners down. (Every time a runner dies, the remaining runners âhearâ in their heads how many competitors are left.) The price to pay for being able to hear in a limited way is that all they hear is a death announcement.
Even more cruel, the two deaf characters do not realize that what they hear are their own voices. As they have never heard anything, they do not recognize themselves speaking in their head.
âWe made two of the main characters deaf because it saved us money on the audio recording. “
This quote is sort of a great synopsis of the movie: it exists at the intersection of cruelty, inspiration, the need for a low-budget grindhouse, exploitative cynicism, a talented cast, and a brilliant storyline. . (Yes, it’s a very complicated Venn diagram.)
The film makes very good use of subtitles for its deaf and Korean characters. Using color (the deaf girl’s captions are red like her shorts) and sometimes capital letters for emphasis, Paul Hough is able to communicate both dialogue and character using the captions. .
It’s hardly surprising that the film contains a lesson in the dangers of underestimating others based solely on their disadvantages, but the film goes even further than that. Even the disadvantaged in the film underestimate and ignore the disadvantaged others. The saddest of these misunderstandings is the deaf runner who assumes the adrenaline rush of being in a death race will finally push him out of the friends zone with his deaf friend (not his girlfriend).
The film has been compared to the novel by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) The long walk. Paul Hough, the director, says he has never read this book, pointing the finger instead Royal battle as a more direct influence. Unlike those survival horror stories and related stories like The hunger Games, Human race features characters of varying ages and abilities, rather than just young men and women.
Since straddling other runners twice will kill them, the movie creates a built-in tension that forces runners to keep moving forward or – like the old wives tale about sharks – if they stop, they die. (Damn, sometimes all they have to do is slow down to be killed.) The movie turns the best runner into the locomotive of death, just killing by running faster than everyone else – a serial killer in sneakers. .
As Royal battle, the 80 competitors react to their peril in various ways. Some, like Justin (Paul McCarthy-Boyington), Eddie’s best friend, become heroes, jam the runners to try to save the old sailor from the overlap. Others become in turn suicidal, philosophical, mad, cynical, violent, revealing their true selves in the crucible of their despair.
Although there are more deaths on screen than The hunger Games, like this movie (and this book), many deaths occur offscreen. This isn’t a huge narrative issue, although some of the offscreen death sequences are curious and more curious, such as three deaths that occur as a BangBangBang popcorn kernel explosion in a critical sequence as two characters stand together. argue.
The only major issue with the offscreen deaths is that the climax of the film revolves around three people left alive, two of whom we saw throughout the film and the other a mystery. When the third survivor appears, he’s someone we’ve only seen briefly, mostly in a flashback. The reaction to this character’s reappearance should be “Oh, he was the one who survived!” “No,” Wait! Who is this survivor? “
This little side chicane, Human race is a sorely inspiring survival horror film. It is a bloody and violent risk, but worth the bet.
– Michael Ryan
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published under our old brand, Sound On Sight.