Big Game

"Weak"

Big Game Review


A missed opportunity, this European action romp begins with a terrific premise but never quite makes anything of it. Finnish writer-director Jalmari Helander certainly knows how to make a sharp, snappy action-comedy (see Rare Exports), but this script is badly compromised by simplistic plotting and gags that go for the easiest target every time. Which leaves the actors looking like they're standing around waiting for something interesting to happen. And it leaves the audience feeling badly let-down.

It opens as 13-year-old Oskari (Onni Tommila) is sent into the mountainous Finnish wilderness to prove his manhood by hunting down a stag all by himself. His father (Jorma Tommila) isn't hugely confident, but wishes him well. Meanwhile, preening terrorist Hazar (Mehmet Kirtulus) has just shot down Air Force One as it flew overhead. As the plane goes down, the US President (Samuel L. Jackson) boards his escape pod, and the first person he meets on the ground is a gob-smacked Oskari. Together, they set out to get to safety while escaping the tenacious thugs who are after the President. And officials at the Pentagon (including Jim Broadbent, Victor Garber and Felicity Huffman) are watching everything unfold by satellite, while the President's security chief (Ray Stevenson) leads the ground party.

The set-up is great, and offers plenty of scope for both over-the-top action sequences and Home Alone-style mayhem, but Helander never quite settles on a tone, perhaps because the 13-year-old hero demands a PG-13 sensibility that undermines any chance of proper black comedy. Yes, there's plenty of violent destruction, but it's cartoonish rather than clever, so the film feels silly rather than exhilarating. Jackson is clearly having a lot of fun as the annoyed President, adding some gravitas to his usual action-hero persona while delivering his requisite snarky one-liners. But Helander never quite finds anything new for him to do. And young Tommila looks far too serious all the way along.

The side roles are fairly thankless: Kurtulus is funny as the cocky baddie, while Stevenson offers the one proper action-style character. Broadbent and Garber have some amusingly shifty moments, but Huffman is lost in the shuffle. In the final act, the film does generate a nicely overwrought sense of action chaos, but few of the set-pieces builds to a proper pay-off. And since the characters are so shallow, the movie never really clicks into gear. In other words, the film feels like it was shot before the script was quite ready to go, only building a hint of the momentum this premise deserved.


Big Game Trailer

 



Big Game

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th June 2015

Budget: $8.5M

Distributed by: EuropaCorp

Production compaines: Subzero Film Entertainment, Altitude Film Entertainment, Egoli Tossell Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jalmari Helander

Producer: Will Clarke, Petri Jokiranta, Andy Mayson,

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson as The President, as Oskari, as General Underwood, as Vice President, as CIA Director, as Morris

Contactmusic


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