Big Game (2015)

Big Game

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Finnish the movie!

We’ve all probably seen Finnish movies here and there, but I don’t think we really see them as Finnish movies, instead we just try to see them as movies. Period. It gets a little more complicated when the spoken language is something other than English, but when you have something like Big Game, where half the film is clearly American, it doesn’t make that big of an impression as a Finnish one – that being said, this is the most expensive Finnish film ever made, and for the most part, I think it’s really well done and fun. Plus, where can you go wrong with Samuel L. Jackson? You can have the corniest movie in the world, or the most epic – but his participation in the thing is always welcome – in my opinion, that is.

Big Game stars Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States by the side of Oskari, a Finnish boy in the middle of a coming-of-age tradition. He must go into the wilderness alone to kill something to prove he is a man, just like everyone in his family has done before him. When the President’s plane is shot down, the President teams up with the young boy as his own security force is out to kill him for some unknown reason.

There is a lot of themes that are going on at one time in this film. First of all, it’s a fish out of water flick. The President is lost in the wilderness without the aid of anyone but a small child. Secondly, it’s a coming-of-age flick with the young boy. Thirdly, it’s an adventure flick. Fourthly, it’s a man-against-man as well as man-against-nature film. Finally, what you’ll mostly notice is the surprisingly well-done mix between the American side of things, and Finnish – both readily apparent – and both perfectly balanced in sweet harmony. It’s a weird combination, but personally…I like it, because even though you have so many different themes, they are all interchangeable – and the plot never strays away from what it was going for from the very beginning – not for the President, and not for the kid.

I will say…I’m not so sure about Samuel L. Jackson in this one. It’s not necessarily that he did a bad job, but we have seen similar acting from him, and similar roles from him. It wasn’t anything new or impressive…and to be honest, it was quite predictable if I’m absolutely honest. His performance, that is. I read that the director originally wanted Mel Gibson in the role, my only guess as to why that didn’t happen is because of all the negative gossip surrounding Gibson’s life. However, I do actually believe Mel Gibson would have portrayed a better, and more memorable president. In fact, I think it would be more comparable to maybe Harrison Ford in Air Force One. Had he taken the role, I think Iwould have rated this just a little higher, if not a lot.

I wasn’t so sure about this movie before I saw it. The poster looks like the movie is more joking than it is serious, like it was a sequel to Snakes on a Plane or something, but after watching, you’re impressed with how good it actually is. Don’t watch the trailer though – it does happen to show a little more than it should.

Here’s an interesting fact for you – you watch this film expecting to watch it solely for Samuel L. Jackson, but you end up watching it for the kid. Sure, he has his issues with acting now and then, but for the most part, you love the character. He’s just so different and unique, it’s hard  not to love. Especially because he has a personality that anyone in the world, not just Finland, can relate to – like the disappointment in his father’s eyes – being alone when no one else believes in you. It’s quite impressive, and shines louder than Samuel L. Jackson’s performance. In the end, Jackson was just…there.

The Good:

The movie. No kidding, the movie is surprisingly well done for a Finnish film, and the adventure/man v. man/man v. self/man v. nature, and all of the coming-of-age stuff was all stitched together amazingly. You’ll be as impressed as I was after you watch it.

The Bad:

I mean, Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t exactly bad, per se, but he was probably the corniest and most overdone part of the whole thing.

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