The trailer was right …
What is wrong with Samuel L. Jackson? If he doesn’t end up in Liverpool, England wearing a Scottish kilt – watch the movie The 51st state if you don’t know – then he is fighting bad guys in a forest somewhere in Finland. And he’s president!! That’s right, Samuel L. Jackson – the man who insisted on having the letters BMF placed onto his lightsaber in the Star Wars–trilogy, BMF which stands for ‘Bad Mother Fucker‘ – well, thát man plays president.
Of course Samuel L. Jackson wouldn’t be Samuel L. Jackson if he couldn’t pull it off. He is one of the most resourceful and dynamic actors working in Hollywood today. In this film he plays a remarkably weak and diplomatic person, not the kind of role which we are used to seeing him in. Usually, he plays a loud bad-mouth or a dangerous killing machine … or both! Not here. Here he is a person of flesh and blood and gets his ass kicked by virtually everyone who’s after him. After a while, you start to feel sorry for him. Where-oh-where are those Avengers when you need them?
Maybe it’s a question that has haunted you for a while. ‘What if a Hollywood movie was made in Europe?’ Well, here’s your answer …
Big Game is such a weird cinematic experience that you don’t whether to love or hate the movie. It’s a big Hollywood movie with grand explosions, but it’s also a small adventure with a European feel to it.
Director is Jalmari Helander, born in Finland which should immediately explain why the movie takes place in Finland. Half the cast is also Finnish, including main actor Onni Tommila, a young kid so unknown to the acting world that even IMDB cannot tell you how old he is or where exactly he was born.
He plays his role as well as can be expected from a kid with such little experience, but there are far more impressive – and weird – things going on in the movie that will draw your attention.
One of those things is the story. It’s so crazy yet so simple in its execution. Air Force One is shot down and the president is all alone in the cold, perilous woods of Finland. He needs help. And he gets it, only not from his army of Navy Seals, but from a young boy armed with a bow and arrow. Together the two are being chased by a goon squat of murderers and terrorists and run for their lives. They must stay together if they wish to survive this mess. Which they do of course, but the manner in which they survive is both funny at times and pretty exciting.
Other than most Hollywood movies, Big Game offers a great variety of nature, such as the aerial camera shots of the vast, harsh and rugged natural terrain of Finland (even though the movie itself was actually shot in the Alps since director Jalmari Helander felt the real Lapland locations did not match his vision). But it’s these natural shots that really give the movie its strongest suit. Even inside the forest itself, there are plenty of wonderful scenes to look at. It’s something else than having a car chase down the streets of New York.
But it’s not all smiles and laughter. The movie has a few problems. Yes, it’s a B-movie with a shabby script and sluggishly stupid, one-dimensional bad guys (and the movie knows this!), but even the good guys are thinner than toilet paper in terms of character depth. With the exception of Mr. President himself and the young hero boy, there are no interesting characters running around. Even the Finnish old guys famed for being great hunters aren’t given enough time to develop properly.
For example, the people who are supposed to protect the president and work inside the Pentagon are such losers, really! They stare like flamingos at a big-ass screen, ponder continuously where the president might be and every action they take it futile even before the action can take place. The director could’ve easily left out every single scene with these characters and you wouldn’t have missed a thing!
Also, the end game of the movie inside the Pentagon is an unpopular choice and therefore not a very rewarding one as a conclusion to this film.
But as a stupid European-like, Hollywood movie where it’s forbidden to use your brain, Big Game works flawlessly. It shouldn’t come as a surprise though. Watch the trailer. It’s so dumb … you might even like it!
did you know?
The adventures in the wilderness take place in Finnish Lapland, but the outdoor footage in the film are actually from the Alps. Director Jalmari Helander had a very personal opinion about the look of his movie and he felt that the real Lapland locations did not match his idea of what the scenery had to look like.
Give it to me straight:
Big game is a stupid movie. Period. It wants to be stupid. It tries to be stupid and succeeds beautifully. Except for Samuel L. Jackson and some lucky kid from Finland, the too often tepid story holds no further interesting characters. The bad guys are there to kill. The good guys are there to save the day. There is no deeper meaning or time spent to explain their actions with either party involved.
But despite all this idiocy of stupid one-liners and even dumber plot changes in the movie, there is also a fine line of hidden beauty. The strange yet refreshing mixture of a grand Hollywood movie with impressive explosions and awesome wildlife action sequences combined with the small-scale picnic dialogues of two ordinary people trying to survive the woods, well, suffice to say: it’s not something you’ll often encounter with an American movie. Or a European movie made with American money. The combination of the two opposing things work.
Also, kudos to Samuel L. Jackson for adding yet another good movie to his prosperous career. It’s quite clear the man is far from … ‘Finished’. (get it?)