Title: Big Game Director: Jalmari Helander Year: 2014 Run time: 1hr 30
“In the rugged countryside of Finland, a young thirteen-year-old (Onni Tommila) embarks on a traditional quest to prove himself by spending twenty-four hours alone in the wild, armed with only a bow and arrow. After witnessing a spectacular crash, he discovers the escape pod from Air Force One, containing the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson). When they realize a group of kidnappers is hot on their trail with the intention of taking the president, this unlikely duo must escape their hunters as they search for the American Special Forces team sent out to find them.”
3:30 – Another of those films that just makes you desperately want to go there. 11:31 – Yay Air Force One! 12:58 – “Life is just too damn short not to have a cookie when you want one.” Mmmmm, wise words. 16:01 – Amazing to see a helicopter actually land successfully, that so rarely happens in films. 20:28 – Does Air Force One really have an awesome escape pod? 23:18 – If he went back empty-handed now it wouldn’t be his fault, a plane crash must surely scare the deer away. 28:19 – Hehe, love that he did the number backwards first. 38:30 – “My forest, my rules.” 40:05 – Are pushups and running countries related activities? Cos I’m not so good at pushups either. 45:47 – Campfure stories with the president is awesome. 53:27 – You have to be careful of your turning circle with giant antlers on your back. 1:03:15 – Travelling by freezer is not elegant at all. 1:04:55 – Oddly makes for a good boat though. 1:12:15 – He went so Die Hard then! 1:20:47 – Evil but genius on the whole soap death front.
This film felt like it had all the potential to be great but it just sort of fell short. It got off to a slow start, with a focus on the Icelandic families and their need to send kids out to hunt to prove themselves. Sort of hard to relate to that but okay. It got better when Samuel LJ got involved, although it felt like he was trying just a bit too hard at points. Doing the Die Hard line felt out of character, really.
The concept was great, the setting amazing, and the boy actor not too bad when given words to say. Most of the time he was tasked with looking a bit scared, which didn’t help really. On the plus side, it felt far too short which is a good sign really, as it meant we wanted more. Coming in on the wrong side of 90 minutes makes it really too short, although I note that IMDB suggests its closer to two hours, so perhaps iTunes offered us a cut version?
That’s unsettled me a little but nevertheless, a film with a lot of good to it but didn’t quite come together in the end for me. One of the big problems, actually, was that the trailer picked out all the best bits and made it look like a huge blockbuster. In reality, it was more of an indy film with some predictable sequences and the odd moment of genius. The trailer massively mis-sold it which may account for some of the disappointment.