In Finland, a young man turns 13 and his father and village expect him to prove his manhood by going into the mountains to hunt. Like his father before him he is set out to bring back a kill, but things go wrong when the President of the United States gets attacked and winds up being hunted himself. It’s a coming of age, action-survival movie that works as a spot on 90s throwback.
Big Game isn’t for everybody, but damn if it doesn’t hit the sweet spot for the right kind of viewer. I love early 90s action and I grew up on the stuff. Countless nights spent watching Die Hard 2, Point Break, Passenger 57 and Terminal Velocity made up a big part of my formative years. Like many, I’ve seen Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom more times than I can remember and films like that are where Big Game nails it. It’s a movie that mixes all of these influences together and makes it fun.
When our main character Oskari, played by Onni Tommila, ventures into the woods in search of his prey, he gets surprised when Air Force One is shot out of the sky above his head and the President winds up in the forest with him. He assesses the situation and decides to take the President with him to finish the hunt. The President, played by Samuel L. Jackson is at first apprehensive until he realizes that Onni is his best chance to get out of the wilderness alive.
While this is all happening, we have two additional groups tracking the President at the same time. One is located at the Pentagon and is made up of the President’s staff to include Jim Broadbent, Ted Levine, Felicity Huffman and Victor Garber as the Vice President. The other group are the terrorists led by Mehmet Kurtulus and the Secret Serviceman turned traitor Ray Stevenson.
Big Game is familiar and fun and stands well above most of the action movies being released right now. The effects are well done and the cinematography is colorful and highlights some incredible sights from the locations shot in Finland. The action is good and the performances are entertaining. My only issues with the film deal with the at times sluggish pacing in the second act and there are a few characters that seem undercooked. All in all though, it’s a great time.
If you still enjoy watching Air Force One and have a soft spot for over the top action that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this one’s worth your time. Samuel L. Jackson does some great stuff here with Onni Tommila, and Ray Stevenson really gives them a run for their money. For his second big film, director Jalmari Helander shows that he knows how to put a solid action-adventure film together and make it entertaining. “Life is just too damn short not to have a cookie when you want one.”
Out of a Possible 5 Stars