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Race (2016)

Race

Stephan James stars as Jesse Owens right before a “Race”.

Going into Race, I realized I knew very little about Jesse Owens, other than he went to the 1936 Olympics and was most popular track and field star of all time. The movie does a good job of informing us what happend but not the best job of entertaining us. In the entertainment department, it just barely gives us a bronze.

Jesse Owens is portrayed well by actor Stephan James. We see him start off for Ohio State, and meet Coach Larry Snyder. Snyder is played by comedy actor Jason Sudeikis, who has never been in a dramatic role before. He is talented, but still seems to be adjusting away from comedy. His performance is not memorable, but not to the point of awful.

Basically, we know the movie will end up going to the 1936 Olympic games, helped by the US Olympic commitee’s vote to go there. The man in charge of making sure it happens is Avery Brundage played by Jeremy Irons in a fine performance (then again, whenn does Irons give a bad performance?)

The thing I mainly disliked about the film is the screenplay. It is a formula sports film that gives us the troubled star (I am sure he had more troubles than just race: they never mentio the fact that he was a heavy smoker), a coach with a troubled past, and outside political tensions (we see Goebels, but Hitler is only in the background.

The racing (and jumping scenes) are well done. They are in real time, and not slow motion. Like any track event, they are done before you know it (unlike the film, which is too long even at just over two hours).

Parents, there is swearing, but nothing really sexual (besides one minor dancing scene which is not bad at all). Pre teens and above would be ok, but this is more of a movie to wait till it comes out to watch at home.

I end by restating how long the movie is. Maybe it was because it was a late showing, but the biggest laugh I heard in the theater was a loud snoring. Or, perhaps, it was because the movie felt like a marathon instead of a sprint.

Overall: Two Stars **

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