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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Big Game movie review: small potatoes

Big Game red light

A kid rescues the President. It sounds like a joke movie The Onion might invent to satirize Hollywood preposterousness, but I swear to god, it’s real.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Finnish filmmaker Jalmari Helander, who made the fiendishly dark and wonderfully bonkers Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, goes Hollywood with a romp about a 12-year-old boy who rescues the President of the United States when Air Force One crashes in the Alps of Finland. There aren’t really mountains that look anything like the Alps in Finland, apparently, but substituting Bavaria for Scandinavia is still more plausible that this embarrassingly bad action comedy; it’s actually more like Helander went made-for-basic-cable rather than Hollywood. Young Oskari (Onni Tommila, who also appeared in Rare Exports) is supposed to be proving his worthiness to transition to manhood before his 13th birthday the next day by bagging some big game in the forest, and won’t everyone be surprised when he shows up with President William Alan Moore (Samuel L. Jackson: Avengers: Age of Ultron) instead of a deer? That’s if they can escape the clutches of trophy-hunting Arab terrorist Hazar (Mehmet Kurtulus), who shot down the President’s plane with a surface-to-air missile and is now traipsing around the mountains in rather camp safari getup in the hopes that he can bag him a POTUS. Helander is trying to say something about the absurdity of clichéd manly manliness, I think, but it gets lost in the overpowering stench of unironic action-flick testosterone his movie is emitting. Yet none of that is anywhere near as awkward or forced as the scenes back at the Pentagon, where Victor Garber (I’ll Follow You Down), Felicity Huffman (Georgia Rule), and Jim Broadbent (Paddington) are slumming it as government officials trying to figure out how to save the President. I know this sounds like a joke movie The Onion might invent to satirize Hollywood preposterousness, but I swear to god, it’s real.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Big Game for its representation of girls and women.

red light 1 star

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Big Game (2015)
US/Can release: Jun 26 2015 (VOD May 21 2015)
UK/Ire release: May 07 2015

MPAA: rated PG for 13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
BBFC: rated 12A (moderate violence, bloody injury, infrequent strong language)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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