#28 BIG GAME
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Felicity Huffman, Jim Broadbent, Victor Garber, Mehmet Kurtuluş and Ted Levine
Written by Jalmari Helander, Petri Jokiranta. Directed by Jalmari Helander. 90 minutes long.
On the cusp of his 13th birthday and armed with only a bow and arrows, Oskari (Onni Tommila) drives off, alone, to spend one day and one night in the 'big forest' and bring back whatever the forest gives him to hunt. It's a rite of passage for the men folk of his community. Trouble is he's pretty feeble when it comes to pulling the bow and none of the men think he can do it, least of all his dad.
Meanwhile, sad-sack and lame duck president, Samuel L. Jackson is the victim of a terrorist attack and dumped in the middle of the forest where the two find each other and redemption, while battling enemies both foreign and domestic. And back in the US, one US General, the Vice President, the single sole female character in the whole film, and Jim Boardbent as the least-convincing CIA agent I've ever seen watch the whole thing on TV, while bickering.
Imagine if the late, great, much lamented, Children's Film Foundation still made films for the Saturday Morning Pictures and decided to make Die Hard for kids set in a forest and you have Big Game, the most action-packed kids film I've seen in ages, which, since it was based on a work of YA fiction written by Dan Smith is hardly surprising.
Great premise, fabulous looking trailer and Samuel L. Jackson, what's not to love? Well, sadly this film. There are some aspects that are very refreshing, I particularly enjoyed the father-son dynamic of Jackson and Tommila and indeed I saw this with my 12 year-old son. But the film itself is too slight and riddled with jarring plot-holes big enough to fly a Presidential Jumbo jet through to really get behind and enjoy. The trailer promised so much but sadly it's all in the trailer the film itself is lacking something. It's one of those films where you have to suspend your disbelief, or in this case have it surgically removed to really get behind it. The action sequences are fun but the villains who number just five and are lead by Ray Stevenson and Mehmet Kurtulus, make the whole thing feel too small and ludicrous. And you'd have thought that if the President was shot down over a Norwegian forest that the US would be a tad more efficient at tracking him down but apparently not. Still it's quite fun in a stupid way but avoid the trailer as it gives away the whole plot of the film, including the very last scene.
That said, the location is literally spectacular and made for a refreshing change as did the young hero, Onni Tommila who steals the whole show.
Disappointingly, just 6/10.