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    Big Game (2015): Movie Review

    "An exhilarating non-stop children action movie."

    For a 12-year-old boy, what will be the ultimate passage to manhood? In Big Game, Finnish film director Jalmari Helander takes us into a boy’s exhilarating adventure of his lifetime – saving the president of the United States.

    On the eve of his thirteenth birthday, Oscari (Onni Tommila) must head to the woods somewhere in Finland and survive the night with his woodland skills. By the next day, he must come back to his community with the head of a beast. For most, it is a deer, but for Oscari’s highly-respected dad, his first kill was a bear. It is a big strain to Oscari, more that he can barely pull back the string on his bow.

    At the same moment, US President William Allan Moore (Samuel L. Jackson) is in the airspace above continental Europe, travelling for a pre-G8 summit. Unknown to him, he is being betrayed by his guard on board Secret Service Agent Morris (Ray Stevenson) who works with Azhari, a child of an unnamed Gulf state. Suddenly, the plane is attacked by a ground-to-air missile. Aided by Morris, the president escaped via a pod and crash lands into the Finnish woods. So on his graduation night, Oscari meets the president of the United States.

    Soon, the duo is chased by Morris, Azhari and their thugs. Back at Langley, US Vice President (Victor Garber), CIA Director (Felicity Huffman) and a former CIA operative and advisor (Jim Broadbent) team up to launch a rescue mission for the president. While the Langley group is intent in locating and finding them, Oscaria and Pres. Moore must evade the enemies and survive the forest, air and waters of the Finnish outback. 

    Big Game is resonant of those all-time favorite classic 80s and 90s children action movies like The Karate Kid (1984), The Goonies (1985), Home Alone (1990), even E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and the sequels of these films. Common elements of such films are hearty laughs, loud explosions and daft adults. Big Game is not an exception. It may possibly have one of the silliest US presidents in cinema. Pres. Moore is very weak and incapable. He could not even land a good punch. He is a head of state and a nation’s chief of command, and yet he is easily targeted by some equally weird terrorists. It may have been deliberate to give us some good laughs which is somehow successful.

    The movie also has plenty of actions and director Helander showed mastery in executing them. Those action poses are killers that they can make us jump and cheer. The slo-mo sequences are also perfectly timed that it feels like we are frozen as well. The chest freezer chase is one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. It is a non-stop adventure and it is quite a big wonder how our two heroes survive the hunt almost unscathed. But the winning moment is the aircraft seat ejection. Here, Oscari goes up into the air with Pres. Moore and summoning all his guts into his arrow, he defeats the persistent enemy.

    The US casts like Jackson, Broadbent, Huffman and Garber are respected in their fields and they delivered the required performance. But it is Tommila who steals the show. Kid as he is, his dire commitment to the role is commendable as he executed versatility and immense potential in his craft. He can be funny, as well as serious, and he emerges as a true hero in the end.

    However, Big Game has an improbable plot and its believability is almost nil. In particular, the Langley scene is screaming inauthentic as projected by the poorly-staged room and fake drama. That part is quite unnecessary and the movie can still exist after deleting everything about it. The abduction of a nation’s president is very ambitious and the film fails to be convincing in its possibility, more that a kid is its ultimate savior.

    Despite suffering from being unbelievable, Big Game lives up to its heart-warming theme. Expectations are inevitable and anyone has the power to rise up and live up to them. Combined with its fun and sharp action sequences and the breathtaking vistas of Finland, Big Game is a beautiful movie to watch.


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