Review by James McDonald
A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.
While Air Force One is en route to Helsinki for the G8 summit, terrorists take aim at the plane, forcing the Secret Service to eject President William Moore (Samuel L. Jackson) in the craft’s escape capsule. He lands somewhere in the Finnish wilderness where he happens upon Oskari (Onni Tommila), a 13 year-old boy who is on a hunting mission to prove his maturity to his kinsfolk. While William apparently knows nothing about hunting or survival, he puts his faith and indeed his life, in the hands of this young boy who states that he will keep him alive and return him to civilization.
Naturally, this being an action movie, things only get worse for the President as he realizes that he was betrayed by the head of the Secret Service, Agent Morris (Ray Stevenson) who is now tracking his every move with the sole intent of handing him over to one of the world’s most dangerous and notorious terrorists, Hazar (Mehmet Kurtulus), who plans on executing him and showing it to the entire world to inspire a new War on Terror. With Morris and his henchmen unfamiliar with the surrounding landscape, Oskari manages to stay one step ahead of them as he knows the terrain like the back of his hand.
But when Hazar brings in a chopper and manages to capture the President, it is up to Oskari to prove not just to his village but also to the world, that he is not a boy any more but a man who is willing to give his life to save that of another. “Big Game” sports an all-star cast including the aforementioned Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stevenson but also Jim Broadbent (the Harry Potter series), Ted Levine (“The Silence of the Lambs”), Victor Garber (“Titanic”) and Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”). The wilderness scenes were actually shot in Finland and cinematographer Mika Orasmaa (“Iron Sky”) shows us the country’s beautiful but rugged contour.
Obviously Mr. Jackson’s President Moore never had any sort of military training and never is this more evident than when he has his first encounter with Agent Morris on the ground and throws the first punch, a wallop that is met with a resounding laugh from Morris who proceeds to knock him on his ass. While this aspect felt somewhat unrealistic, it actually lends itself well to his given predicament as it allows Oskari to step up to the plate and utilize his hunting and survival capabilities to help both men get out of their quandary. “Big Game” is an enjoyable movie that will undoubtedly appeal to younger audiences and while it admiringly never panders to their sensibilities, it proves that size does not matter in the overall scheme of things.
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