Big Trouble in Little Movie
Looking like Air Force One crossed with Cliffhanger, only by way of a 13 year old Finnish star, Big Game is a strange little beast that at least distinguishes itself from Jackson’s usual inter-MCU DTV trash.With worldwide popularity and a modern generation legacy immortalised by his now-iconic performance as Nick Fury in the Avengers Universe, it’s always interesting to see what veteran actor Samuel L. Jackson – who has been in over 100 movies in a film career that stretches over four decades – does in-between his bouts as the former Director of SHIELD. Certainly he’s not been above picking a few prize turkeys, with reliable supporting roles in Tarantino’s films largely being the only non-blockbuster work of any significant merit he’s done over the last few years.Yet for all the flops he certainly picks some diverse work, and a few ridiculously silly gems certainly prove worth watching if you can trawl through the rest, not least the love-it-or-hate-it Snakes on a Plane, a limited budget semi-comedy action-horror flick which was thoroughly unpretentious and largely preposterous fun. Jackson’s Big Game almost falls into the same category, a similarly limited-budget Finnish production with a glossy finish that often makes it indiscernible from films which cost a hell of a lot more.
It tells some preposterously convoluted tale of a young teen boy on his first solo hunt in the wilderness who comes across the crashed escape pod from Air Force One, containing none other than the President of the United States. With terrorists hot on their trail – looking to kidnap and publicly execute the man – it’s up to the two of them to escape and evade in the depths of the wilderness. Big Game feels like it was almost entirely borne from the mind of a child.
This seems like nothing but a criticism, but if seen through those eyes, it actually gives the cheap and cheerful little feature – which jumps from one clichéd setpiece to the next – a unique edge. This isn’t so much the tale of Sam Jackson’s President kicking ass Air Force One style, it’s as if a child watched White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen and went on a camping trip and imagined himself the hero who saves the President’s life from gun-toting villains. It far from succeeds in doing everything it sets out to do, but the lack of pretentiousness, wilderness setting, and presence of Sam Jackson all go a long way to make a nothing movie something more than nothing.
A little bit goes a long way in this silly piece of preposterous fun.
Big Game doesn’t even attempt to break conventions, instead celebrating its offbeat blend of Cliffhanger and a straight-face Home Alone, and all the President-in-danger actioners out there, from Air Force One to, more recently, White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. Seen from the viewpoint of the child that is arguably its true star – as something of a kid’s fantasy – it’s unpretentious fun, although it far from hits all the right notes even with such limited aspirations.
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