I enjoyed this tender tale of a man (Jason Statham) framed for the murder of his wife so he can be sent to prison and drive in the Death Race of the title. All Statham wants to do is behave himself, get out of prison, and get back to his small daughter.
Statham matches wits with the prison warden (Joan Allen) and bonds with other prisoners (Ian McShane, Tyrese Gibson) as he faces the clever jibes of his fellow inmates, many of whom appear to have degrees from Ivy League schools.
The extensive character development is broken up occasionally with scenes from the race, with one or two explosions, but it's best not to be distracted by these lest you lose the thread of the complex plot that winds throughout. I paid close attention and wasn't lost, but it was close. I won't reveal any of the twists and surprises so you can be amazed on your own.
All I have to say in conclusion is that I'm shocked that this movie was shut out in the Oscar™ race. There really is no justice.