Big Game (Blu-ray)

A mix of Cliffhanger and Air Force One, Big Game is ridiculous, but much more fun than the aforementioned films because it takes itself far less seriously. Samuel L. Jackson manages to keep a straight face through the whole thing, but it’s easy to imagine a lot of laughter from the cast and crew between takes given the bounty of clichéd lines.

President of the United States Alan Moore (Samuel L. Jackson) is flying to Finland on official business. Deep into his second term, Moore is a lame duck and his ratings are in the toilet. His only confidant 30,000 feet above ground is Secret Service Agent Morris (Ray Stevenson), who once took a bullet for the president; remnants of which are still lodged millimeters away from his heart. At the same time, Oskari (Onni Tommila) is being sent into the Finnish wilderness to complete a rite of passage and mark his 13th birthday. His father has confidence in his abilities, while others doubt the youngster’s ability to succeed. Though green, Oskari really wants to prove himself. Plans change with the nearby crash of Air Force One ad his discovery of Moore’s escape pod. Terrorists intend to capture the president. With his secret service detail dead, the President and Oskari form a quick bond, the older man thankful for the young boy’s knowledge of the difficult terrain and survival skills, and the boy grateful for the President’s words of encouragement and companionship. As the two work to make it back to the safety of Oskari’s father, they are tracked by a group of men who want nothing more than the dead president as a trophy; including one man who had sworn to protect him.

Big Game is entirely predictable and it’s likely that most viewers will be able to figure out various plot arcs, both broad and subtle, easily. Writer/director Jalmar Helander (Rare Exports) doesn’t cover any new ground. Nonetheless, the action is exciting, aided by the rugged terrain and the sense of the unknown. Is the plot itself believable? Heck no. However, Samuel Jackson establishes an immediate chemistry with his young co-star, so if you’re able to suspend belief at the door, Big Game will offer up 87 minutes of over-the-top, cheesy fun.

Presented in the original 2.39:1 original theatrical aspect ratio, the 1080p transfer looks excellent. Shot digitally, the film has a glossy look to it, even looking slightly artificial at times. The image is consistently sharp, revealing several fine textures with accuracy, the transfer’s attention to detail is evident in every shot. Colors are bold throughout. The transfer shows no apparent digital anomalies. Anchor Bay has produced a technically sound presentation.

Big Game features a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack, available only with the theatrical cut. Anchor Bay has included a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the unrated cut. The 5.1 track is impressive. Dynamics are strong, presenting the films numerous explosions to full effect. Music sounds full and deep. Dialogue is clear and discernible throughout.

English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • The Unrated Cut can be accessed via the “special features” tab. The original cut runs 1:26:48 while the unrated version runs 1:30:33. As stated above, the unrated cut features only a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

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