In my post Death race, I gave Death Race by Paul W. S. Anderson a kind of passing grade based on the competent action direction and solid acting, but was frustrated that it never attempted to be more than a competent action movie with solid acting.
For whatever it's worth, I feel close to the opposite about Death Race 2 by Roel Reiné. It's a bit generically overdirected, and in a way that generally obfuscates the action. The acting is still competent, but not as compelling, especially lead Luke Goss suffers in comparison to Jason Statham.
Not to mention actresses Tanit Phoenix and Lauren Cohan bring down the average. There must be some actresses that can play onscreen as kind of generically "hot" who can also act, mustn't there? And, as a sidenote regarding the female characters, why in a movie that makes such an effort to have an ethnically diverse cast of characters for the racers, are all of the women white (not to mention, vaguely interchangeable)?
On the other hand, it seems much more willing to embrace the trashy New World Pictures vibe begun in the original Death Race 2000.
It doesn't near the brilliant insanity of original screenwriter Charles B. Griffith and director Paul Bartel, and while I'd guess that Death Race 2 screenwriters Anderson and Tony Giglio imagine that this movie follows up on the satire of Griffiths script, I'm not sure any of the satire ultimately holds much bite.
It's sure a step in the right direction, though. I enjoyed this crazy mess a lot, probably more than I ought to have. This is definitely closer to what I'd like to see more movies out there attempt.