Uncovering Curiosities: Jalmari Helander’s BIG GAME

Finnish director Jalmari Helander’s 2014 film Big Game is a fun action movie which is as enjoyable as it is forgettable. It’s totally far-fetched, but it has an old-fashioned action vibe augmented by some flashy CGI effects. It’s as if Wolfgang Petersen’s 1997 Harrison Ford starrer Air Force One was updated for the Obama administration!

A hijacking onboard Air Force One sees the President Of The United States (Samuel L.Jackson) ejected from the plane over the wilds of Findland. He’s discovered by a young boy (Onni Tommila) out hunting. Things take a nasty turn when they’re hunted by a rogue Secret Service agent (Ray Stevenson) and a group of terrorists who are out to hunt their ‘Big Game’.

A hard-edged kid’s film, Big Game gets a lot right. The comedic tone stops things from getting too serious and Helander knows how to shoot kinetic comic book style action. This is a fun little movie from Finland that happens to have a big Hollywood star in the lead. Say what you like about Samuel L.Jackson but he’s willing to take roles in a bizarre selection of movies, rather than playing it safe. Big Game may not be one of Jackson’s better efforts but he’s fully engaged in the role, playing somewhat against type as the flustered US President.

Young Tomilla makes an interesting foil for Jackson as the young boy who is taking part in a local hunting tradition which is part of his right of passage to becoming a man. Helander peppers his supporting cast with a host of well known faces including Victor Garber, Ted Levine, Felicity Huffman and Jim Broadbent.

Big Game is a well-staged action-adventure film that doesn’t out stay its welcome. It’s a brave little Finnish movie that feels fresh compared to the many spandex laden blockbusters currently being churned out by Hollywood (most of which happen to star Samuel L. Jackson).