Big Game

Film, Action and adventure
3 out of 5 stars
Big Game

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Finns ain’t what they used to be. Cinema has long characterised Finland as a nation of heavy-drinking, drily philosophical outsiders, but that’s not how writer-director Jalmari Helander sees it. In this shambolic but lovable action throwback, he’s recast his people as a bunch of hardbitten heroes, taking on a team of terrorists with their rifle sights set on the biggest prize of all – the President of the United States.

And he’s hauled in a surprisingly heavyweight cast to assist: Samuel L Jackson plays the Leader of the Free World, lost in the Nordic wilderness after Air Force One is shot down by shifty Middle Eastern revolutionaries. His saviour arrives in the form of Oskari (Onni Tommila), a 13-year-old bowman on a rites-of-passage mission to kill his first stag. Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon, CIA operative Herbert (played by Jim Broadbent – seriously!) struggles to organise a rescue mission.

Helander’s breakthrough film, 2010’s ‘Rare Exports’, saw him channelling a love of ’80s American horror into a berserk tale of monstrous Santas and demonic octogenarians. With ‘Big Game’, he jumps forward a decade, drawing on ’90s high-concept action flicks like ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Cliffhanger’ for a rough-edged but always watchable survival romp.

The dialogue may be hackneyed (yes, Jackson does get to call someone ‘motherfucker’ right before shooting them) and the special effects are sometimes painfully low-rent, but Jackson and Tommila have a sweet, convincing rapport. And it’s all carried off with style, enthusiasm and buckets of goofy charm.

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Details

Release details

Release date:
Friday May 8 2015
Duration:
110 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Jalmari Helander
Screenwriter:
Jalmari Helander
Cast:
Samuel L. Jackson
Ray Stevenson
Felicity Huffman