Big Game, 2014.
Directed by Jalmari Helander.
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Mehmet Kurtulus, Victor Garber, Ted Levine, Felicity Huffman, and Jim Broadbent.
Trapped in the wilderness after Air Force One is forced down by a terrorist attack, the President of the United States must rely on the survival skills of a 13-year-old woodsman.
Upon the arrival of his 13th birthday, a Finnish boy embarks on coming-of-age ceremony where he hunts alone on a mountain and is expected to bring back his killed prize which will mark his passage into manhood. While this is taking place the President of the United States is aboard Air Force One heading for a conference being held in Finland. The stories become entwined when a terrorist shoots down the presidential aircraft and the world’s most powerful man has to rely on a youth who is armed with a bow and arrows for his survival.
Big Game is pure popcorn cinema steeped in the death-defying sequences which turned actors such as Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon), Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator), and Sylvester Stallone (Rambo) into household names. Unlike Air Force One (1997), White House Down (2013) and Olympus Has Fallen (2013) which relied either on the president or a secret service agent saving him, the unique spin is the pint-size hero on the cusp of adulthood who is called upon to be the difference between life and death for the American leader.
Samuel. L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane) is no stranger to these types of films while Jim Broadbent (Iris) is an unusual choice as the crafty intelligence expert who could cause trouble for James Bond. Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs) is on autopilot as the General and Ray Stevenson (The Punisher) scowls for the camera as a secret service agent who has some secrets of his own. Despite the big name cast members, the key role rests on the shoulders of Onni Tommila (Rare Exports) who gets to have some fun playing an action hero.
A humorous moment occurs with the presidential escape pod which gets mistaken as an alien spacecraft and communication is established by tying string between two Styrofoam cups. The terrorist is groan inducing as he is portrayed as a caricature rather than as a character. There is no doubt that filmmaker Jalmari Helander (Rare Exports) is having a blast with the bigger budget as he does everything to a grand scale and makes the most of the opportunity to honour the action films of the 1980s.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★★★/ Movie: ★★★