Overall Grade: (C+)
You will certainly enjoy this action flick more when you realize it was clearly aimed for a younger audience.
When Air Force One is attacked and the President is ejected in an escape pod he lands in a remote region of Finland with a young teenage being his best hope for survival.
I will be honest in saying I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Sure there is nothing imaginative about the script and there has without question been films that have done the premise better but this was still an enjoyable action adventure. I have seen many reviews that beat this film up pretty bad and to be honest it don’t get it. I will not try to defend this film as a gripping action film but I do not think that was the filmmakers intention. This has a PG-13 rating and from my perspective was clearly aimed towards a younger crowd as opposed to adults.
From that point of view this film was a great success. The simple dialogue, cliche filled characters and easy to understand plot all lead toward kids in their early teens. For that aspect this was a great film to sit back, turn off your brain and just enjoy it for what it was. A father could sit back and watch this with his kids, depending on the age, while it was PG-13 there were a couple edits that could have been made to tone it town just a notch as far as the language. But other than that, with all the things kids like to watch these days, sitting through this film would feel like a treat.
The pace is good and the story doesn’t take long to get going. With a seemingly serious plot, the lighthearted dialogue toned the tension down a lot to make it suitable for younger audiences. Samuel L. Jackson was solid in this film but didn’t make for the most believable President but he didn’t really have too, none of the characters were extremely developed. While he was the headlining name on this film, the true star was young Onni Tommila. He is the main reason to sit back and watch this movie, he delivered a captivating young character with a determination that could do nothing but make you root for his success.
The father/son subplot is given early in the first-act and from there you can easy feel yourself slide to his corner to root for him as he ventures into the forest on a hunting trip that will turn him from boy to man. Tommila was more than capable in the role and shared a great chemistry with Jackson. It was fun to watch their interactions and to see the visually perplexed expressions from Jackson as he took in the unique personality of the young boy, who was much more a man than really Jackson was himself.
Regardless of the cardboard villains and predictability the script fails to hide, this was still a fun adventure kids can enjoy, it was a good balance of young and old and makes this story suitable for a wide range of ages. The run-time isn’t extended and the script did not over do it. It kept the story simple and entertaining, even if it never causes you to think. The settings and locations are also great for the visual aspect of the film and routinely there are stunning views of the countryside all around them during many of the scenes.
In the end “Big Game” was far from exceptional but it was still a fun mindless action romp to enjoy and still relatively decent enough for kids eyes as well, no matter how implausible the main plot may be, Tommila delivered a great role that makes you want to sit around to see how he will gain his fathers approval, and the third-act wraps it up nicely. There were some fun special-effects and sure this film borrowed ides from many others in the genre, but there are not many films that haven’t. “Big Game” will not blow you away but it will keep your attention and entertain with likable characters and a fast pace.