Big Game Trailer: Samuel L. Jackson is the Mother#$*!in’ President!

By  · Published on January 6th, 2015

Altitude Film Entertainment

Try to pick out the single most ridiculous thing about Big Game after watching its trailer. Is it that Samuel L. Jackson plays the President of the United States? Or that he’s thrown into some kind of crazy “Most Dangerous Game” style human-hunting contest for terrorists? Is it that he’s paired up with a kid (Onni Tommila)? Is it that this kid is Finnish and much of this action movie is in Finnish but that won’t stop American audiences who don’t normally watch foreign films to check out Samuel L. Jackson in a movie that’s basically a mix of Air Force One, Die Hard, White House Down/Olympus Has Fallen and Escape from New York, except where the main hero is a kid? (Also some might go see it thinking it’s about a big sports game.) My pick is Jim Broadbent seemingly phoning it in as a spy who himself is seemingly phoning it in. Good for that guy, getting another well-deserved paycheck.

Joining Jackson and Broadbent on the more familiar side are Ted Levine, Felicity Huffman and Victor Garber, who plays the Veep to Samuel L.’s POTUS, and the movie is written and directed by Jalmari Helander, who made the ridiculous evil Santa Claus movie Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. Those of you who’ve seen that will also be recognize Tommila as one of its stars. You also might not be surprised to see that Helander is continuing to make more absurdly awesome movies obviously inspired by plots of John Carpenter movies (with that one it was The Thing). Reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival last fall make it sound more skewed to young audiences, however – as much akin to The Goonies as the violent ’80s action movies you’d assume. That has me thinking Rambo as made by the kids from Son of Rambow. I’m in, if that’s so.

This first trailer is for the Finnish release (in March), so that’s maybe why it’s so heavy on the Finnish dialogue and plot about Tommila’s character going out into the wilderness for a rite of passage exercise before SLJ shows up in a doomed Air Force One. It’s almost like there’s two separate films being sold here. The American version, once it shows up (there is no US date announced yet), will surely focus on the Avengers star and the action before (or instead of) showing the foreign kid and culture.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.