Saturday, June 27, 2015

BIG GAME (2015)

Written & Directed By: Jalmari Helander 
Cinematography By: Mika Orasmaa 
Editor: Iikka Hesse 

Cast: Onni Tommila, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Stevenson, Mehmet Kurtulus, Ted Levine, Victor Garber, Felicity Huffman, Jim Broadbent, Jorma Tommila

When Air Force One is shot down by terrorists leaving the President of the United States stranded in the wilderness, there is only one person around who can save him - a 13-year old boy called Oskari. In the forest on a hunting mission to prove his maturity to his kinsfolk, Oskari had been planning to track down a deer, but instead discovers the most powerful man on the planet in an escape pod. With the terrorists closing in to capture their own "Big Game" prize, the unlikely duo must team up to escape their hunters. As anxious Pentagon officials observe the action via satellite feed, it is up to the President and his new side-kick to prove themselves and survive the most extraordinary 24 hours of their lives

This is more of a wish fulfillment fantasy for kids. Like the film masterminds. Tibia clearly meant more for that audience with the typical action movie cliches. Though with a different setting and more a warrior story.

Just like on the film WHITE HOUSE DOWN as the president is a softie and kind of wimpy, with him as the damsel in distress where as the kid handles most of the action scenes and being the hero.

Unfortunately this seems like another film with Samuel l. Jackson an actor I like that has a high probability of being on my worst of list. Though excellently filmed. It never overcomes this feeling of being no frills and basically disposable. Like it is just going through the motions. Which is a shame as there is plenty that could be done with it's material.

All the double crosses are telegraphed. All the moments and themes you can see coming. So that I don't know if it is fair for me to really review or have my opinion taken. As I am obviously not the intended audience. And the problems I have with it. It's general audience might not even notice.

The villains are ridiculous and so over the top. It is hard to ever take them seriously. They aren't even fun in a campy way. So they more come off as weak. An obstacle that is blocking our heroes success.
The film had plenty of shots of the sweeping vistas of lands and some breathtaking visuals at times. Which also reminded me of the directors previous film the much more enjoyable RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE. Here he casts the same star of that film, Onni Tommila as our hero facing a similar problem of learning to be a man through hunting.

Onni Tommila, who plays Oskari, is the real life son of Jorma Tommila who plays Oskari's father, Tapio.

Jalmari Helander initially wanted Mel Gibson to play the President.

The action scenes are basic but not as memorable as they aim for. Especially as at many times the film seems like it was going to be bigger and grander at any moment.

The adventures in the wilderness take place in Finnish Lapland, but the outdoor footage in the film are actually from the Alps. In director Jalmari Helander's opinion, the real Lapland locations did not suit his image of what the scenery should look like.

What helps keep interest is that the film like most president in trouble films. this film has a big name recognizable supporting cast of character actors playing the president’s cabinet. Though by the end most of their roles amount to extended cameos. More like they are there for a paycheck or a favor.

Though this film has Jim Broadbent in an action sequence. Which proves to be the most physical he has been since CLOUD ATLAS.

The film never feels like it goes where it should. It should feel epic, but feels smaller and more contained. It should feel more fantastic yet it feels basic feeding into things you have seen a thousand times. Yet taking itself mostly serious. It doesn't have a sense of humor about itself enough so it seems more stern then fun. Like a field trip with the boring teacher. It should be exciting, yet you feel restrained.

The film made me think of MASTERMINDS with Patrick Stewart. That was stupid and ludicrous yet fun at the time. And also IF LOOKS COULD KILL a spy film comedy. That is dated and also rather silly, yet a good time.

What makes it seem a bit different is that it is open ended after the usual overcoming of odds. So that there might still be a threat or enemy out there, but it can also be seen as a final ending also.


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