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Run the Race
I don't really have a strong opinion on once brief NFL (and heralded college) quarterback and minor league baseball player Tim Tebow as some others do, and was a little surprised to see his name as one of the producers in this film? Maybe he's using some of that endorsement and/or NFL money to make a separate indent into the culture, I don't know, but Run the Race would appear to have a footprint or two.
Written by Jack McIntyre and Jason Baumgardner, who handled some of the initial work behind the FX show (The League) and directed by Chris Dowling (Priceless), the film looks at Zach (Tanner Stine) and Dave (Evan Hofer), brothers, where the former is a star high school football player and the latter a former track star. When the former gets hurt, the latter does what he can to help his brother realize his dream.
So apparently Run the Race has a spiritual feel going through it, which I sort of knew coming into it because Tebow and his brother Robby are executive producers. But unless I missed it (very well possible), it really didn't get into it all that much until it was necessary; circumstances were such that until the brothers were tried by adversity, that's when they called on their faith for spiritual guidance, not the proselytizing that everyone equates with Christians.
Dramatically there wasn't really a lot for the boys to do, they approached the material earnestly and honestly and they pulled their roles off fine; Frances Fisher (Titanic) played their mother and was convincing enough, as was Mykelti Williamson (Heat), who played the football coach. They put what they could into their roles without making look like they chewed scenery, and they looked fine on the index of, "What the hell are THEY doing here?" at least.
Run the Race isn't reinventing the wheel, it's just telling an emotional story as honestly as it can, whether you choose to go along with it depending on your personal predilections is up to you. There is a little bit of a swerve at the end where things get a little autobiographical, but honestly, I have no idea if it's real or not. And if it was, tell THAT story, rather than wonder why it is we're supposed to be emotionally invested in this one.
Universal's presentation of Run the Race is an AVC 1:85:1 widescreen presentation that looks nice. You get the light of the daytime sequences (and phony artificial light of the hospitals) nicely and the darker nighttime football shots accurately and without concern. The image lacks haloing or smearing of note along with any sort of DNR, image detail in faces and hair is pretty discernible but is inconsistent on a wider scale, but overall is fine.
Universal's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track sounds OK generally, with crowd noise coming through powerfully in the front channel and then providing a nice immersive experience, right up to the end. Dialogue and crowd effects are immersive and directional effects are present and provide a nice balance to the soundstage with little user compensation. Action is anchored in the front of the soundstage and sounds nice.
Not all that much? "The Heart of Run the Race" (1:39) looks at the producers, while the "Making of Run the Race" (1:00) is just that; "Cast Talks" (6:29) cover the moral themes, story, characters they portray and one another, that kind of thing.
Run the Race and similar films of spirituality or religion are understandably tough nuts to crack. This film doesn't reinvent that wheel, but it does show why someone would turn to God or religion as the film's executive producers have, and I don't begrudge or withhold anything from them for doing so. Technically the film is fine, though the extras are a little on the light side. If it's on the television, and you've lost the batteries to your remote? Eh, guess you could do worse.