‘ Big Game’ runs hap­pily amok

Los Angeles Times - - MOVIES - — Robert Abele

Renny Har­lin lives! He didn’t di­rect “Big Game” ( and no, he’s not dead), but the op­er­atic nut­ti­ness of Har­lin’s “Cliff hanger”- era ac­tion films is all over fel­low Finn Jal­mari He­lander’s Bmovie throw­back, a pre­pos­ter­ous tale part­ner­ing an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent ( Sa­muel L. Jack­son), stranded in Fin­land’s moun­tain­ous wilds af­ter Air Force One is shot down, with a 13- year- old boy hunter ( Onni Tom­mila) on a rite- of- pas­sage mis­sion in the same rugged ter­rain.

With ter­ror­ist kid­nap­pers on their trail and a Pen­tagon war room con­fab ( Ted Levine, Vic­tor Gar­ber, Felic­ity Huffman and Jim Broadbent) des­per­ate to f ind the Prez, “Big Game” is old­school high- con­cept, from the POTUS- with- a- kid pair­ing to the out­landish set pieces (’ copters, hill­side tum­bles, ejec­tor seats, bowand- arrow play), all the way down to the Oedi­pal 12- let­ter ep­i­thet Jack­son gets to bark be­fore tak­ing out a bad guy. ( Per­haps aware of the ridicu­lous­ness around him, Jack­son keeps things de­light­fully wry.)

Glee­fully dumb but ea­ger to en­ter­tain, this is cheese­ball stuff baked with de­li­ciously out­sized per­for­mances and low com­edy and pho­tographed across mighty beau­ti­ful land­scapes. Be­fore a stu­dio fran­chise snaps up He­lander and ru­ins him, en­joy “Big Game” now while his mus­cu­lar, glossy sense of play is ec­cen­tric and tongue- incheek. “Big Game.” MPAA rat­ing: PG- 13 for in­tense ac­tion, vi­o­lence, lan­guage. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 26 min­utes. Play­ing: AMC Bur­bank Town Cen­ter 8

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