Death race is a remake of the legendary B-movie Death Race 2000 (actually in the USA this movie is released under the name Death Race 3000, which is a bit silly as the settings clearly show this movie is set in 2012). And just like the original is this movie great fun. The original film starred David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone, and the general idea (Roman Gladiators in a modern setting) was kept.
So is this movie better? Yes, from an objective point of view it is way better. The actors are better, the special effects are a big improvement and the cinematography is extremely crisp. Apart from the B-style story board, there is not much comparison. But does it have soul? Well, there the answer is a bit more difficult. The original DR2K movie was so kitschy and camp, and the new version is much more commercial.
I would say: check both versions out if you want a rock 'n' roll movie night.
Quote from Death Race:
Jensen Ames: So what are you in for?
Case: They say I killed a cop.
Jensen Ames: Did you do it?
Jensen Ames: Bad cop?
Case: Good cop... lousy husband.
Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory