Sometimes when I screen a film for the first time I see something either so spectacular or so atrociously awful that I am reaffirmed as to why I write reviews in the first place. For an exceptional piece of filmmaking, my goal would be to express my opinions in hopes of expanding attention to the release. If the film is downright terrible, my self-assigned task is to sound the alarms, to man the lighthouse, to grab the microphone and warn anyone who cares what I prescribe to stay away at all costs.
Big Game was such a film.
Starring one Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States, Big Game tells the story of his survival after Air Force One is attacked and he is jettisoned into the wilderness over Finland where a 13-year-old boy (Onni Tommila) who is going through some kind of manhood ritual where he must fend for himself overnight in the wild finds him and attempts to bring him to safety. This trek is disrupted by the various terrorists that take to the countryside in their attempt to land the ‘big game’ that is the US Pontiff.
The film tries to be parts of Air Force One and with a little Cliffhanger thrown in for good measure but the results are laughably bad. There are stereotypical characters, a plot twist that was easier to see than the Twin Towers video on a 9/11 anniversary and ridiculous action sequences that make the Indiana Jones in a fridge surviving an atomic blast look like something that Stephen Hawkings wrote while having an inspirational epiphany.
Writer/Director Jalmari Helander does have a few visual shots that are worth the half star we are willing to give the film, but there are so many bad green screen special effects that they just about cancel each other out.
I can go on and on about all the faults and impossibilities of the film, but if Helander didn’t care enough to write a script worth a damn why should I give time to put words behind his effort.
Samuel L. Jackson comes out unscathed. He (Snakes) never (on) seems (a) to (Plane) find a script that he doesn’t want to be in. And the rest of the cast is just there to collect a paycheck. Or so I hope. I had to wonder if Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent or Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman ever bothered to read the script. Surely something this ridiculous would not be worthy of the weeks required to shoot the film unless there was a carrot dangling in the form of a large payday. Right?
Big Game is not unwatchable. But when it costs $25 to see a film (all-in with refreshments) and $50 if you bring a date and $75-$100 if you bring the family, aren’t we entitled to more than just a scene or two of mildly entertaining moments. Sorry, but Big Game is a bust.