Writer Brian Presley's limited-budget calamity action drama “The Great Alaskan Race” sadly recalls the true story of Nome, the lethal 1925 diphtheria outbreak in Alaska, and the dog-sled relay of nearly 800 kilometers organized to provide life-saving antitoxin to the remote city.
Unfortunately, the well-meaning Colorado film spends more time among dying children, bereaved parents, obstinate doctors and mayors, and disputed politicians than it involves us on the death-defying transportation trip and against all odds. It also takes a little of the movie's brief run time just to set up the characters and the pending crisis.
Presley (he also produced and co-edited) plays real-life liar champion Leonhard Seppala, who, with his beloved 12-year-old dog Togo, leading the group, must travel hundreds of miles in ultra-brutal conditions to help bring the essential serum to Nome's house. Meanwhile, widow Seppala's youngest daughter, Sigrid (Emma Presley, daughter of Brian), stays in a hospital bed.
Unfortunately, the so-called race is presented in sections, er, obstinate but unconvincing, many of them staged in the "snow," so blinding that it is difficult to understand the action.
But it is the banal dialogue, the lack of tension, the characterizations of a note and the overly sincere acting – even by veterans like Treat Williams, Bruce Davison and Henry Thomas – that conspire to turn this potentially exciting and exciting picture into porridge.
& # 39; The Great Alaskan Race & # 39;
Rated: PG, for thematic material, brief bloody images, some language and smoking
Runtime: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Playing: In the general release