These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Death Race
Alternative Character Interpretation: Some people believe that she actually means it when she implies that she wants to give inspiration to the audience and move them, and simply views manipulating Jensen into participating as a means to a positive end. Hennessey intends it as a genuine gesture of goodwill, rather that using something "hard to come by" to her advantage as a hook for higher viewers and therefore higher profits.
Complete Monster: The smug, ruthless female prison warden Hennessey is introduced casually strolling through the yard unguarded to show how much even the worst inmates fear her. She rebuilt the Terminal Island prison to include a car race track where the prisoners perform death races with the promise of being released after winning five times, broadcasting the event to make a hefty profit. The racers and their female navigators die in the most brutal and graphic ways in the races, getting run over, blown up, or gutted by each other or Hennessey's armored trucks. She arranges to kill anyone close to making the quotum as she did with the original Frankenstein, a mask-wearing crowd favorite. She orders the innocent Jensen's wife killed and frames him for it, then once he's in her prison blackmails him with his daughter's well being to force him to take up Frankenstein's mantle. While the movie takes place in a Crapsack World, Hennessey simply uses her power to be as brutal as she can be to prove her superiority and butchers people for profit.
Faux Symbolism: The United States economy collapses in 2012, the year the world is supposed to end according to superstition. They also throw in Grimm's belief that Hennessey is an avatar of the Hindu goddess of death, Kali.
Fridge Logic: The Dreadnought comes out during the second day of the race and tries to kill everybody, and very nearly succeeds. ... What was Hennessy going to do for the third day of the race? Just have it drive around the track by itself firing of weapons at nothing?
Coach was probably correct that she'd have called it off before then. Possibly she'd been planning for the last racer alive to face the Dreadnought one-on-one in the final contest, and, of course, it would have won.
Ho Yay: Jensen and Machine Gun Joe. They end up living together in Mexico with Jensen's daughter.
And there's that one guard that seems to love watching Jensen do just about anything...
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: This would've made an excellent version of Twisted Metal! It was absolutely brilliant how they devised away to adapt the weapons pick-ups often found in video games of the Wacky Racing genre — electric sensors in the ground that when turned on and driven over, deactivate the kill switch, thus allowing them to be used. A great way to fake the "transfer" of weapons from one car to another.