So I watched Big Game…
If someone came up to you and tried to sell you a horse-drawn wagon, you’d probably think it quite odd. Wagons were great two-hundred years ago but I’d much rather have a car. Big Game feels like a horse-drawn wagon. It’s plot, jokes and style feel like they would have made for a great 80’s movie but it’s 2015 and it feels archaic and obsolete.
Okay, basic plot: Air Force One is shot down by terrorists over a mountain range in Finland. The President (Samuel L. Jackson) escapes through an escape pod and lands in the wilderness of a Finnish forest. This forest is used by locals as a hunting ground that the boys of the local village must survive as a right-of-passage on their thirteenth birthday. Oskari (Onni Tommila) is in the middle of this tradition when he comes across The President’s pod. Together the two must navigate the dangers of the forest and the group of terrorists hunting The President.
This movie should have been made thirty years ago. The plot and the overall feel of the movie just scream 80’s action. But being in the wrong decade isn’t this movie’s main problem; this movie’s main problem is that IT IS BORING! The action never really starts and the little action there is, is equivalent to a sleeping pill. This movie’s plot is ridiculous but I don’t think the filmmakers embraced this ridiculous nature when creating the action sequences. Look at last year’s White House Down, which in parts was absurd but that film embraced its absurdity and brought that element of fun and over-the-top lack of logic into its action sequences. Big Game takes itself too seriously and forgoes the non-stop action its trailer promises for unnecessarily long pieces of dialogue and boring conference room meetings.
I could have handled the lack of action better if the acting was up to par. Samuel L. Jackson is an extremely entertaining actor when paired with the right director but when this pairing isn’t right, he falls to pieces. His acting in this movie completely lacks purpose and it feels like he’s disinterested in the movie but he has to do something or else he won’t get paid. Actors are like salesmen – when they believe in the product, they’re more likely to sell you on it. The products that actors sell are characters and entertainment. So if the actor doesn’t believe that they are the character, their performance suffers and you can tell. Jackson doesn’t ever commit to this role and it makes for a rather dull portrayal.
This movie has quite a quality cast. Okay by quality I mean well-known and by well-known I mean when you see the actor’s face you’ll say, “hey, I know that guy, he was in…um…he played….um”. So these guys aren’t necessarily Oscar favourites but they’re experienced and the majority of them do passable jobs. I thought Jim Broadbent was probably the best actor in this movie, even though his British accent forced itself through his put-on American at times. Onni Tomilla who plays Oskari – the boy who finds and saves The President – was competent. I still think child actors have passed their sell-by-date and we need to create a time machine to go back to the 80’s and 90’s to find the really good ones.
The writing in this movie is lacking. Lacking skill, lacking suspense, lacking tension. The story never really digs its hooks into you or truly unfolds itself. You feel like you’re waiting for some big twist that will tie the movie together but it never comes and the story just feels hollow. Once again, if there had been more action, I probably could have let this slide.
Overall, Big Game is rather dull and a serious case of wasted potential. It needed more action, a better performance from Jackson and a more intelligent script. It’s not worth a trip to the cinema or really watching either. 5/10