- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 28, 2016

Director Stephen Hopkins’ cinematic historical drama about the struggles of legendary track star Jessie Owens to not only deal with racial bigotry but also dare vie for Olympic Gold against the Master Race offered a potent story about success against enormous odds.

The perfectly named Race (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13, $34.98, 134 minutes) arrives on Blu-ray and stars Stephan James as Mr. Owens.

Its story takes us through the hero’s early years at Ohio State University, working with his coaching mentor Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), the famous Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor Michigan and his ultimate showdown with athletes in four events at the Berlin-hosted, 1936 Summer Games overseen by Adolph Hitler.

An impressive support cast includes William Hurt as Jeremiah Mahoney (president of the Amateur Athletic Union), Jeremy Irons as Avery Brundage (president of the American Olympic Committee) and Carice van Houten as German documentarian Leni Riefenstahl.

The well-tuned digital transfer also impresses through the detail revealed in the period piece’s costumes, set designs and the recreation of Germany’s Olympic Stadium as well as cinematographer Peter Levy’s slightly sepia-toned, newsreel visual approach to the events.

The movie ultimately falls into a rental at best or on-demand viewing due to the unimpressive supply of extras in the disc.

Basically, a trio of too-promotional featurettes clicking in at under 12 minutes total offers very little about Mr. Owens (how about a historic picture of the real superstar at least?) and even manages to highly underuse interviews with his daughters Gloria, Beverly and Marlene.

Would it have been so hard to include the one-hour documentary “More Than Gold” produced by Universal brand NBC Sports earlier this year that featured members of the 1936 Olympics and the famed runner?

Or, a bit more difficult but even more illuminating, how about the propaganda documentary “Olympia,” shot by Miss Riefenstahl while under the careful eye of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

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