Movie Review: ‘Big Game’
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, and Ray Stevenson
Plot: When Air Force One crash lands in a Finnish forest, a teenager on a hunting trip has to help the President of the United States survive.
Movies where the President of the United States is made into an action hero or protagonist of a survival horror movie are problematic. It means that the Secret Service agents have to be made fools of in order to have the President by himself and thus responsible for his own safety. I thought Big Game had the kind of premise that could gloss over that part. Air Force One is shot down by a terrorist, and the President is isolated in the forest of a foreign country. It relies on that weird egg escape hatch thing that Hollywood thinks Air Force One has, but if it was good enough for Escape from New York and Harrison Ford’s Air Force One, than it is good enough for this movie.
Samuel L. Jackson plays President Moore, a president that is not at all suspiciously reminiscent of Barack Obama. It is a different change of pace for Jackson, who keeps his anger and the volume of his own voice under check while being the complete opposite of a man of action. He has the scenes stolen from him though by Onni Tommila, the young hunter who helps the President survive. Tommila was in Helander’s previous feature, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a darkly comedic take on the original Santa Claus myth. Here, he plays Oskari, a teenager participating in his family’s rite of passage that will prove his manhood. Rather than shoot an animal, which he has no experience in, he decides that rescuing the President would be just as good.
The men responsible for shooting down Air Force One are still on their trail, so the duo have to keep moving. Their attempts to get away from the terrorists are high-flying fun; the kind you might expect to see in a PG adventure like Home Alone or something with a young Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Sadly, the movie neither slows down enough to build up tension nor has a big enough run-time to include a proper resolution. Because of that, Big Game, represents a trend I feel like I am seeing more and more often. This movie is racing to the ending, tying up loose ends too abruptly and not filling in the middle with enough material to warrant a feature film in the first place.