26.2 To Life Film Review – Running Doc Looks at Life Inside San Quentin, Informative

26.2 To Life, from A3 Artists Agency, presents the story of three "lifers" inside the maximum-security San Quentin prison and the running club, that offers an escape from the reality of life behind these prison walls.

The documentary opens with the 1000-mile club organizer, Coach Frank Ruona, a veteran of decades of marathons, and lifelong distance running advocate explaining as he is walking into San Quentin Prison, that he never asks any of the men about the crimes they committed that ended them here.

Dark Asset Review – Fast Moving, Strong Action, Intriguing Storyline

While the doc is focused on the benefits the men receive from running, it provides that parallel look into life behind bars. The men we meet, Markelle "The Gazelle" Taylor, Tommy Lee Wickerd, and Rahsaan "New York" Thomas are all serving hard time for felony crimes.

We begin to understand the marathon club does more than provide an outlet for the men, it provides that mental escape, as it is the only activity inside the prison that allows prisoners to wear running clothes. Sneakers, however, need to be signed out before each use, and inmates present their ID card, in exchange for the shoes. Outside of running the men are numbers, in the marathon club they are known by their names.

Markelle, "The Gazelle," even before joining the 1000-mile club, it is obvious he was somewhere in his past a track and field athlete. We find out as the story unfolds, that the Marathon club has essentially reset his mind. During his interview he explained he wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and he would be the first runner of the 1000-mile club to ever qualify or run in a race outside the prison. He also explains the second-degree manslaughter charge that put him behind bars.

Portrait of the Queen Review – Intimate Look at The Most Photographed Woman in the World

The camera crew filmed looking into the cell, and while most only house one inmate, the cells are roughly 4 x 9 with two sleeping bunks, and the three inmates featured each had cells that had as much stuff as possible, books, food, personal items. The small sink served multiple purposes, a place for a sponge bath, drinking water, and laundry. Clotheslines extended across the cells as they air dried their clothes.

The documentary offers an intimate look at life inside a maximum-security prison. Even as the documentary itself details the running club, the camera follows a few of the runners into life inside the fortress. We begin to understand the result of poor choices and bad decisions that unchecked behaviors produced.

We hear from each of the men, Markelle explains he and his girlfriend were equally abusive to each other, they argued the situation escalated and he pushed her, she was pregnant and needed an emergency C-section, and even though the baby survived 28 days later the baby died of an infection and he received a second-degree murder charge. Markelle's goal in the prison marathon is to run under three hours.

CARLOS: The Santana Journey Review – Entertaining, Engaging, Captivating, A Must See

Tommy Lee Wickerd another of our 1000-mile club runners, came from California, and fell into the wrong crowd, and the result of wrong place wrong time and like he said, "I went back." He went back to the scene of the crime and was caught. We also begin to understand the realities of the penal system. An 8-year term can become 45 years with enhancements, a weapons charge, a repeat offender charge, and many others, the penal system has buried within it these additional charges that instantly erase the possibility of a future. Wickerd is married, and the doc interviews his wife and son. They all understand what has been lost over poor choices and bad decisions. Tommy's goal in the marathon is to run under four hours.

Rahsaan "New York" Thomas, a New Yorker, who along with the others has used his time inside wisely. He has used the time to develop himself and hone his writer's voice. His time resulted, like each of them from that one pivotal moment when, instead of walking away, the walked forward into trouble. Life on the streets of Brooklyn and anywhere is challenging, gangs, drugs, even though in the neighborhood Rahsaan was known not to participate in either drugs or gangs, one night tragedy struck, and he went to the local gang leader and asked for a gun, who told him no, and Rahsaan's anger made him determined. So, they gave him the gun. He used it. Rahsaan's goal in the 26.2-mile prison marathon is to finish it.

When filming there was an emergency and the words "Yard Down" were heard and the inmate explained that yard down meant that who ever was in the yard and whatever they were doing, even running a marathon, they had to stop and sit, until the guards announced all clear. The idea of an hour outside each day was not the case as these runners were outside for the majority of the day.

The Hill Review – An Uplifting, Engaging, Inspirational, True Story

Finally Marathon Day arrives, on a cool, sunny November morning, the route, 105 dizzying laps around a crowded prison yard. The group of runners train all year for this 26.2-mile race. For the men who take their places at the starting line, completing the marathon means more than entry into an elite group of athletes. It's a chance to be defined by more than their crimes.

Cheering them on are a small staff of volunteer coaches, veteran marathoners who train with the runners throughout the year. The bonds they forge on the track create a community that transcends prison politics and extends beyond the prison walls as members are released.

26.2 to Life is a story of transformation and second chances. The film offers a rare glimpse into a world out of bounds, as the men navigating life sentences seek redemption and freedom… or something like it.

Mob Land Review – Captivating Crime Drama Delivers Heightened Suspense

Country: U.S.

Runtime: 90 minutes.

Director: Christine Yoo. 

Producer: Christine Yoo, Carolyn Mao, Sara Sluke, Hella Winston. 

Featuring: Markelle "The Gazelle" Taylor, Tommy Lee Wickerd, Rahsaan "New York" Thomas, Coach Frank Ruona, Tone Evans, Marion Wickerd, Tommy Wickerd II, Aikeem Thompson, Jonathan Chiu, Diana Fitzpatrick, Larry Wickerd, Linda Wickerd, Bill Anderson, Nicola Bucci, Chris Scull, Lee "Timbuktu" Goins, Ronnie Goodman, John Levin, Angel Lemus, Bill Pillars, Jacqueline Andrews, Jim Maloney, Kevin Rumon, Dylan Bowman, Troy Dunmore, Steve Pascacio, Mark Stevens.

Haute Tease