"Romantic, humanist, & politically correct"
What You Need To Know:
BIG GAME is a bizarre mix of children’s movie, violent pulp flick, buddy cop movie, and outdoor movie. BIG GAME has many childlike moments in it. However, that’s coupled with very strong violence, some disturbing content, lots of foul language, and other immoral behavior. The movie’s strong Romantic, humanist worldview reveals a gaping lack of religious themes or values. The movie’s overall moral message teaches children to rely on themselves for support and to overcome challenges by “being tough.” Because of all its negative qualities, MOVIEGUIDE® finds BIG GAME abhorrent. BIG GAME is not a movie for anyone with wit or media wisdom.
(RoRo, HH, PCPC, APAP, RHRH, LLL, VVV, DD, MM) Mixed Romantic, humanist worldview where boy is raised to believe that life is only man versus nature and that there is no god, politically correct content where America is an overbearing presence in the world that must keep its power checked, and only individuals can trust themselves and their comrades to make the world a better place, plus an odd segment mentions 9/11 and implies America is on “the side” of Saudi Al Qaeda terrorism; at least 27 obscenities (including one “f” word) and many profanities, including many negative uses of “Jesus Christ,” plus a long story told in the movie concerns potty humor; high amount of violence VVV includes close range executions and gunfire, very frequent scenes with bloody dead bodies (some of which have fallen from a very great height, children are always in danger, and some hunting violence involving animals; no sexual content; no nudity; no alcohol; a main character frequently grossly abuses prescription medication; and, the President is portrayed as a buffoon who believes in lying your way to power, the Secret Service isn’t loyal, blackmail and backstabbing runs rampant, and terrorism from the Middle East is a main theme.
BIG GAME is an action adventure movie from Finnish filmmaker Jalmari Helander. This coming of age story focuses on a child named Oskari (Onni Tommila), who is left in the Finnish wilderness to prove his manhood to his community of elders and, most importantly, his father. In classic “Bildungsroman” style, Oskari starts his adventure and must slowly prove to himself and his community, as well as others along the way, that he has the strength to “be a man.”
Meanwhile, the President (Samuel L. Jackson) is on his way to an international summit in Air Force One. Unlucky for him, a Middle Eastern terrorist shoots the plane down just as he’s able to escape in a “drop-pod.” At this moment, it’s revealed there’s a mole in the Secret Service working from the inside that allowed this to happen.
In a very “Steven Spielberg-esque” scene, Oskari finds the President’s escape pod, believing it to be an alien spacecraft. In fact, an almost exact facsimile of John Williams’ curious “The Map Room” from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK plays during the scene. From this point, the movie becomes a bizarre mix of children’s movie, violent pulp flick, buddy cop movie, and outdoor movie.
At the start of BIG GAME, the script makes it clear there will be political commentary in this movie. The president “cannot do a push up, let alone lead a country,” to the point that his very best Secret Service member, the most trustworthy of the president’s men, would betray him. Samuel Jackson as the President does not act like a typical president normally would be portrayed in a movie. He swears constantly, makes dark jokes, and seems to be a buffoon in all matters. Part of the plot is that he’s at the mercy of the young child, Oskari, to lead him through the wilderness of Finland.
Also, the main antagonist or villain of BIG GAME is the terrorist Hazar (Mehmet Kurtulus), a middle-eastern “oil prince” who kills for fun and not for the usual “money, power or ideology.” In an awkward moment toward the end, Hazar is about to kill the president when he says, “I’m actually on your side. . . long story” in a way that is in no way relevant to the plot but instead a “joke” of some sort, most likely a political commentary on American foreign involvement.
This leads to the various worldviews portrayed in BIG GAME. On one hand, the movie is Romantic and humanist, in that it is about how man must overcome nature and hardship by depending on himself. There is no mention of God whatsoever in the movie besides the constant profanity. In fact, the president at one point says, “Only two people in this universe know my secret – me. . . and you,” almost in a way to emphasize he doesn’t consider God to be present.
The President’s moral message to the boy is to “look tough” as he recounts an anecdote that centers on potty humor and drags. The audience is led to believe that this is the moral of the story until the young boy updates it, “You can’t just look tough; you must be tough.”
BIG GAME doesn’t seem to have an audience. The movie is highly graphic in violence as well as full of cursing, but there are constant moments of cringe-inducing children’s movie scenes. These include potty-humor, ridiculous action moments like bouncing down mountains in a refrigerator, and unbelievable physics, as well as child-exclusive themes like proving one’s manhood to one’s father. A child should in no way or context view this movie, yet an adult or even young adult will be bored by the constant childish themes interspersed throughout the story.
What did impress was the high quality special effects of the explosions, crashes and gunfire. The sound that came from these moments also was exciting. The ground was shaking, and the CGI was enticing. The angry US President role in BIG GAME is also a classic example of SNAKES ON A PLANE-esque Samuel L. Jackson performances. Fans of Samuel L. Jackson in that type of role will find enjoyment from him in BIG GAME.
The disturbing use of prescription drugs from people that children should admire, graphic violence, as well as obtuse cursing is a red flag for any parent. Children are very strongly cautioned to not see BIG GAME.