ⓘ Big Game (2014 film)

Big Game (2014 film)

ⓘ Big Game (2014 film)

Big Game is a 2014 action-adventure film directed by Jalmari Helander, based on the original story by Helander and Petri Jokiranta. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Victor Garber, Mehmet Kurtulus, Ted Levine, Felicity Huffman, and Jim Broadbent.

Premiering at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, the film was generally well received, with IGN citing it to be "a throwback to ’80s and ’90s adventure movie with a dash of comic book violence thrown in for good measure."


1. Plot

When Air Force One is shot down by terrorists leaving the President of the United States, William Alan Moore, stranded in the wilderness of Finland, there is only one person around who can save him: a 13-year-old boy called Oskari. In the forest on a hunting mission to prove his maturity to his kinsfolk, Oskari had been planning to track down a deer, but instead discovers the most powerful man on the planet in an escape pod. With the terrorists closing in to capture their own "Big Game" prize while Pentagon officials watch on satellite broadcast - including the Vice President, the CIA director, and former CIA field operative Herbert, brought in as a consultant - the unlikely duo must team up to escape their hunters.

Already feeling at a disadvantage as a hunter due to his fathers reputation - his father having hunted and defeated a bear on his own hunt - Oskaris faith in himself is further shattered when he follows a map his father left him, only to find a portable refrigeration unit with a pre-killed deer head in it. Moore attempts to boost Oskaris confidence by reminding Oskari that he managed to save him, but they are subsequently confronted by Morris, the United States Secret Service member who orchestrated the attack from on board Air Force One - having become disillusioned with Moore as president after sustaining a bullet-wound that left a fragment of shrapnel near his heart - and Hazar, the mercenary who hired Morris to get Moore to him. Although Hazar decides to put Moore in the refrigeration unit and take him home to kill, Oskari regains his confidence and leaps onto the unit before it can be carried away, cutting it loose from the helicopter and hiding inside it as it rolls down a mountain to land in a river.

Discovering that the river leads to the lake where Air Force One crashed, Moore and Oskari swim inside the plane to wait for rescue, but are attacked by Hazar, who sets a time bomb, saying that he has new orders to kill the President now, rather than torture him for later execution. Moore manages to grab a gun and shoot Hazar before he and Oskari escape Air Force One via the ejector seats, Oskari subsequently shooting Morris with an arrow as the ex-bodyguard leans out of a helicopter to shoot at them; while the arrow fails to penetrate the protective padding on Morriss chest, the shot is nonetheless fatal as it dislodges the shrapnel inside Morris so that it impales his heart. As Morris plummets, he reflexively fires his gun and the bullets tear into the helicopter, killing the pilot. The explosion of Air Force One destroys Morriss helicopter and sends Moore and Oskari flying all the way back to the camp where Oskaris village is waiting for him, arriving at the same time as the Navy SEAL team sent to search for Moore. With Moore acting as Oskaris prize, he assures Oskaris father that his son is the bravest man he has ever met, with Oskari subsequently receiving the Medal of Honor for saving Moores life.

Back at the Pentagon, the Vice President and Herbert reveal in a private discussion in a bathroom that Hazar was actually a CIA operative; the plan was that he would kill the President to inspire a new War on Terror, but with his survival Moore has instead become a hero. To ensure that nothing can be traced back to them, Herbert kills the Vice President by shoving him back against the sink, subsequently wiping the Vice Presidents shoe and the floor with soap to give the impression that he just slipped.


2. Cast

  • Victor Garber as Vice President of the United States
  • Ray Stevenson as Secret Service Agent Morris
  • Onni Tommila as Oskari
  • Mehmet Kurtulus as Hazar, a CIA operative posing as a freelance terrorist.
  • Samuel L. Jackson as William Alan Moore, President of the United States
  • Felicity Huffman as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  • Jim Broadbent as Fred Herbert, a former CIA operative, advisor and head of the Terrorist Intel Unit.
  • Ted Levine as General Underwood

3. Production

The films budget was €8.5 million equivalent to US$10 million at the time, making it the most expensive film ever produced in Finland. Although the wilderness adventures are portrayed to take place in Finnish Lapland, the outdoor footage in the film was filmed in the Alps and the rest were filmed in Germany.


4. Reception

Box office

Big Game opened in Finland on 19 March 2015 at number 4, taking in $324.321 from 113 screens. The following week it dropped 38% to finish the weekend at number 2, with $199.996 from 103 screens. The film had made $1.420.000 €1.271.847 as of 26 June 2015.

As of 17 May 2015, the film had a worldwide total of $7.455.218.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 78% approval rating, based on reviews from 88 critics, the critics consensus states Big Games enthusiastic throwback vibe will appeal to fans of low-budget 80s action movies, but co-writer/director Jalmari Helander adds a level of smarts and skill that make it more than just an homage." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on reviews from 18 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

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