BIG GAME (Finland | UK | Germany/12A/90mins)
Directed by Jalmari Helander. Starring .
THE PLOT: Oskari (Onni Tommila) is sent into a Finnish forest on his 13th birthday to bag some big game and prove himself a man. When Air Force One is shot down en route to Helsinki, Oskari finds himself rescuing the Leader of the Free World and returning home with the biggest game of all.
THE VERDICT: BIG GAME is a wonderfiul, gleefully self conscious movie; heavy on the silly and the overacting, but incredibly funny and wildly entertaining.
The cast are on fantastic from for this B-Movie style adventure; Samuel L. Jackson hams it up as the President, Victor Garber plays his usual morally ambiguous character as the Vice President, Jim Broadbent gets to be bumbling but brilliant, Felicity Huffman plays the stereotypical strong woman in a crisis, Ray Stevenson brings the menace as Morris and young Onni Tommila is part Goonie, part Elliot from ET as the brave Oskari.
Jalmari Helander’s screenplay nostalgically borrows from many of the great movies of the 1980s; there are touches of ET, Flight of the Navigator, THE GOONIES and INDIANA JONES in there, as well as some of the great blockbusters of the 90s, such as Con Air and The Rock. Quips fly during the face off scenes, the President inspires his young friend through rousing speeches, then it all goes a bit James Bond before coming back to Earth in style. The villains’ motivation starts off as a little ridiculous, but somehow when its all tied together in a more recognisable reality, some of the sparkle is worn off the film.
As director, Jalmari Helander ramps up the action and the silliness in the film, while keeping the pacing fast enough that the audience is constantly entertained. Helander also keeps the film gleefully self conscious; this is most definitely a film with a B-Movie feel, but no shame about being a ridiculous romp through the Scandinavian mountains.
In all, BIG GAME is a surprisingly hilarious, nostalgic B-Movie that is well paced, well written and over-acted just right. Jackson and Tommila have a wonderful chemistry that keeps the film going, and the rest of the cast are obviously having fun in this farcical adventure that gets almost everything right.
Review by Brogen Hayes

Big Game
Review by Brogen Hayes
4.0Fun farcical adventure
  • filmbuff2011

    Director Jalmari Helander follows up his odd-ball curio Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale with a much bigger and more enjoyable fish: Big Game, a fun Boys Own romp set in the Finnish mountains and forests. Oskari (Omni Tommila, who also featured in Rare Exports) is about to turn 13. In order to prove himself a man to his father, he has to undergo a rites-of-passage by spending a night alone in the forest and come back with a big kill. He gets more than he bargained for though. Just above, Air Force One is en-route to a conference. The President (Samuel L. Jackson) is jettisoned in a pod after the plane is targeted by surface-to-air missiles by a group of terrorists / big game hunters. The President lands safely and Oskari helps him through the wilderness. They’re quite a pair – Oskari is tough, while The President merely appears tough and is actually out of shape and unable to deal with survival in the wild. The big game hunters close in, along with Secret Service Agent Morris (Ray Stevenson), who has a grudge to settle with The President. Can Oskari protect The President and prove himself worthy to be a man? Big Game has no pretentions about what it is – it’s just a straightforward family action film. It could be described as Escape From New York meets Cliffhanger. It takes an admittedly outlandish idea that could only happen in the movies and runs with it for 90 minutes, just the right running time. Any longer and the holes in the script would become much more obvious. For example, doesn’t The President have a transponder embedded in his body? And what’s with that silly last-minute reveal? That was unnecessary and almost toppled the predictably feel-good ending. However, the good sense of humour and positive air around the film is hard to dismiss. Jackson makes an atypically non-tough President and veteran bad guy Stevenson at least gives his character some credible motivation. Though actually shot in Bavaria, the picturesque locations and visual effects blend seamlessly to provide a stunning backdrop to the various chases and confrontations. Big Game is certainly funny and entertaining, but three stars feels more appropriate given that it’s not confident or ambitious enough to have more impact. ***