‘Samuel L. Jackson is the President‘ declares the film’s poster proudly along the outside of London buses. It does just feel like the natural progression for the Snakes on a Plane star’s big box office, self aware absurdity. Absurd as it is, Big Game is much more of a family action film than perhaps it is being marketed. And the first few minutes are all in Finnish, which did make me seriously question whether the cinema had made a big mistake.
Fortunately, it had not. 13 year old Oskari (Onni Tommila) is sent on a coming-of-age hunting mission by his father and townsfolk to prove his maturity. Meanwhile, Air Force One is shot down by terrorists, only for the president to be rescued by the unlikely figure of Oskari in the Finnish forest. Samuel L. Jackson surprisingly plays against type, he hasn’t got the presidential badassery skills one might expect from this particular muthafucking POTUS battling to survive terrorists with an agenda of evil. Oskari is a Son of Rambow figure without quite the same natural sweetness of that film but still rather affable. It’s an unlikely buddy pairing, likely to keep family’s entertained by feeling big and ridiculous, full of tongue in cheek humour while showing some heart. Mixing in a healthy amount of preposterousness and action stunts, indeed a surprising amount given the small €8.5 million reported budget, Big Game is a welcome break from both comic book adaptations and over zealous patriotism (White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen) which clutter screens with similar ambitions. Not a classic by any stretch, but at a very sensible 90 minutes it feels refreshing.
Review by David Rank
Big Game is out on 15th May in the UK. Running time 90 mins. Certificate 12A (UK).