When you have a film with Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States you would expect him to take centre stage. When his co-star is Rare Export’s Onni Tommila though he can expect to have lost the spotlight. Which is very much the case in Big Game.
Tommila plays Oskari, a thirteen-year-old boy venturing out into the wilderness in a hunting coming-of-age ritual. Expected to return after a few days of hunting with a trophy to signify the kill, nobody expects him to find the biggest game of them all, the William Alan Moore, the President of America (Samuel L. Jackson). With terrorists hot on their trail, Oskari and the President fight for survival in a battle where the odds are definitely against them but where Oskari is in his element.
In the film there are times that Jackson’s performance feels understated when compared with some of his previous work, but it is easy to understand why. This movie is being used to raise Onni Tommila’s acting profile, and it definitely works. While the first half of the film struggles a bit when it comes to pace, when Oskari finally reaches his “hero moment” the film reaches full speed and never slows down. Giving an experience that I termed as “Goonies meets Schwarzenegger” there is a definite eighties action movie feel to the big scenes in the film, with the humour on show definitely hitting the right sports for fans of the genre.
When it comes to the supporting cast of Big Game, there are plenty of strong performers. From Jim Broadbent to Ted Levine, they fully understand what is asked from them and give performances with just the right level of cheese. Ray Stevenson, Victor Garber, Mehmet Kurtulus, and Felicity Huffman also put in good performances to make the situation believable. I have to admit Levine does have one of reactions in the film to some of Oskari’s actions. It isn’t the most complicated of movies, but the ensemble cast manage to hit all the right spots to keep the audience invested in what they are seeing.
Big Game is a film that is about not only Oskari’s coming-of-age, but also the actor himself receiving the exposure he needs to become an international star. Many people who have seen Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale will already know what he is capable of, but this film as a strong Hollywood release is exactly what he needs to get more notice. Playing the part of a thirteen-year-old boy growing into the hero he becomes is taken to the next level by Onni Tommila as he impressively understands just what is needed to show the young child, and the action hero just at the right times. The kid is a total badass, and hopefully this film will take him to bigger and better things.
Jalmari Helander and writer and director of Big Game provides an action film that harkens back to eighties action films at their best. Full of corny action scenes with the right levels of heroism, Big Game is an escape from reality and a solid action movie. Don’t expect anything innovative and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll watch the film for Samuel L. Jackson, end the right being an Onni Tommila fan, and when that is the case do yourself a favour and go watch Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale it will be well worth your time.
Big Game is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now.