In the midst of his terrible physical state and his declining poll approval, things are going very well for President William Alan Moore (Samuel L. Jackson). Things get even worse when Air Force One’s defenses all seem to fail at once and the plane is attacked. His escape pod lands deep in the Finnish forests, where he is happened upon by Oskari (Onni Tommila), a young hunter out to prove he is a man to his village by bringing back the biggest game possible. However, it seem the President himself is the game in this hunt, as he is being hunted by psychopathic billionaire terrorist Hazar (Mehmet KurtuluÅŸ). Now it’s up to Oskari to prove he’s a man by protecting the game instead of hunting it.
Big Game is dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb, and more dumb. And yet, it’s probably one of the most charming and fun films to come out in 2015. It’s amazing that it’s actually taken this long for Samuel L. Jackson to play the President of the United States, and people who have been waiting for this part for decades may be disappointed, as Jackson is cast firmly against type here. He’s not going to be killing any motherfuckin’ terrorists in this motherfuckin’ forest here. This President is weak, cowardly, and mostly needs the help of a 13 year old boy to survive.
However, this works surprisingly well. Once you get past the initial scepticism that Jackson is being cast as a weakling, there’s a rather sweet relationship that develops between the President and Oskari. Honestly, the kid here is probably the most developed character, and you really do feel for him as he desperately tries to prove he’s as good a hunter as his legendary father. In fact there’s a genuinely heartbreaking scene in which the father tries to help the son cheat, and it at once shows how much his father cares about him, and how misguided his attempts to help him are, as it essentially tells him that he doesn’t believe he can do it by himself.
Of course, the film is not all sentimentality, it is an action film after all. Directed by Rare Exports helmsman Jalmari Helander, the film contains his trademark tounge-in-cheek nature. Simply put, it doesn’t take itself even in the slightest bit seriously, and that works in its favour. It knows full well how utterly ridiculous its premise is and runs with it completely. There’s a particularly insane sequence involving a freezer box, which essentially plays out like the fridge scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, though admittedly less stupid.
The action flits between the forest with the President and Oskari and the Pentagon where the CIA attempting to locate them. With these two viewpoints, we essentially get two different unfolding stories, and the CIA scenes slowly reveal who is behind the plot to kidnap the President, and all of the reveals are fittingly shocking (except the one that was spoiled in the trailer, which I won’t say here). Mehmet Kurtulus’ insanely hammy performance as the villain is a joy to watch, even if his plan is so stupid his only real motivation can be described as ˜for the evuls’.