Big Game review

Finnish filmmaker serves up an absurdly enjoyable boys' own action-adventure

The day before he becomes a teenager, 12-year-old Oscari (Onni Tommila) is sent off into the Finnish woods with a bow and arrow in order to prove himself a man. Despite being barely able to pull back the string on his weapon, Oscari dreams of bagging a bear just like his father once did. Instead, he finds himself having to help save beleaguered President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson) when Air Force One is downed by terrorists.

Big Game is written and directed by Jalmari Helander, who gave audiences the brilliant 2010 comedy-horror Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, and is a fun throwback to the children's action romps of the 1980s/90s (The Goonies, Home Alone, et al). Like the best of those films it balances overblown action and tongue-in-cheek humour adroitly, with the latter largely used to make adults look like idiots, which should help ensure that it goes down well with its target audience of pre-teens.

Speaking of target audiences, while Big Game was stripped of the now obligatory Samuel L. Jackson 'mother****er' for its UK cinema run, it's been restored on this Blu-ray, bumping the certificate up to 15 in the process. While we're usually opposed to censorship, here we think the UK distributors got it right first time around. Big Game now risks being missed by the young boys it was so clearly made for.

Picture: The flick arrives on Blu-ray with a striking 1080p encode framed at 2.40:1. Not only are colours richly saturated, but the inherent sharpness of the digital photography ensures there's plenty of finely-resolved detail and textures on show.

The only slight technical issue is that of unwanted noise showing up in darker scenes – notably during the plane crash in Chapter 4. But this shouldn't distract much from what is otherwise a particularly vibrant and attractive picture.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: From plane crashes to gunfights, ejector seats to explosions, Big Game's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix offers plenty of acoustic action to keep your speaker setup engaged. But in addition to all of the booms and crashes, the soundtrack proves to be a fairly nuanced affair, reinforcing the action with subtle atmospheric effects and impeccably rendered dialogue.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: Entertainment One didn't bag itself any big game when it came to sourcing extra features for this BD release. Apart from a three-minute VFX breakdown reel, the only other goodies are 11 brief interview snippets with members of the cast and crew (including a bored-sounding Sam Jackson).
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: A fun-packed action flick for young boys (provided you can put up with Sam Jackson's potty-mouth) on a well-spec'd hi-def platter

Big Game, Entertainment One, Region B BD, £20 Approx