Director: Jalmari Helander
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson
These days it seems like light-hearted action movies for young adults are increasingly hard to come by. Kids and teens are left with either superhero franchises or dystopian tales of Divergents in Hunger Games, and the market looks wide open for a “cheap and cheerful” original film to introduce the next generation into the genre. Big Game is trying to be that film, with an accessible 12A rating and a semi-promising concept about coming of age whilst trying to protect the leader of the free world ).
Samuel L Jackson, more likely to be recognised by the target audience as Mace Windu rather than Jules Winnfield, leads the cast as the President of the United States. Doubled crossed by his top Secret Service agent and literally dropped from Air Force One , the hapless President is left to fight and survive in the remote mountain forests of Finland. Coming to his aide is Oskari (Onni Tommila), whose 13th birthday present consists of being sent into the wilderness to kill a deer, earning his father’s respect and becoming a man.
The President and the young apprentice huntsman make an adorable pair as they journey through the mountain passes, with all of the quick quips and “learning from each other” that you’d expect. Despite it’s generic nature, their relationship is arguably the strongest feature of Big Game as its satisfyingly heart warming core carries an important message about confidence for the younger audience members. Their scenes also contain the only dialogue in the whole film that isn’t heavy handed and/or laboured with exposition, even if the President often uses idioms and euphemisms that no adolescent Finnish boy could possibly translate or understand.
Wrapping up with decent pace over a tight 90 minute run time, Big Game unfolds with no real surprises for any adult viewers who have seen a few action movies in their time (the trailers revealing the entire storyline doesn’t help). The film’s small budget is painfully obvious in many of the larger set-pieces, where substandard CGI results in the dreaded “characters clearly running in front of a green screen” effect. All of this with musical accompaniment as cheesy and predictable as the plot itself.
But finding holes in Big Game is like shooting fish in a barrel and it feels unfair given the film’s intentions. Big Game is an entry level action movie for a young audience, it really isn’t trying to be the next Taken. This is a film for Dads to take their kids to before moving them up the ladder towards Die Hard, like playing touch rugby in preparation for the injuries of full contact sport. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense slice of warm yet brainless fun for the family, you could definitely do worse than Big Game.
Written by James Excell
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Big Game is on wide release in UK Cinemas now, and will be hitting US screens on 26th June.