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Non-Review Review: Big Game

Big Game is a rather unlikely combination. Jalmari Helander’s comedy action movie plays as a cocktail of Airforce One and E.T., a coming of age film blended with a old-fashioned action adventure film. It is a combination that works surprisingly well, allowing Big Game to be both playful and charming. Big Game feels like an homage to classic eighties and nineties cinema – the emotional beats are broad, the action is absurd, the irony is layered on pretty heavy. Big Game is always wry and self-aware, but never quite breaks character.

It is a potent mixture, and one that manages to hold itself together remarkably well across the film’s ninety-minute runtime. Big Game never takes itself too seriously, providing a light and exciting action adventure treat.

“I’m king… er… leader of the free world!”

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Star Trek: Enterprise – Rogue Planet (Review)

Next year, Star Trek is fifty years old. We have some special stuff planned for that, but – in the meantime – we’re reviewing all of Star Trek: Enterprise this year as something of a prequel to that anniversary. This January, we’re doing the first season. Check back daily for the latest review.

And with Rogue Planet, Star Trek: Enterprise wanders back into “generic Star Trek territory.

Rogue Planet is a story that could easily have been told on any other Star Trek spin-off. Indeed, a great deal of its story elements feel inherited like hand-me-down clothes. Hunters chasing sentient game is a stock science-fiction trope, but it is one that the franchise has explored quite frequently. The first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gave us Captive Pursuit, another story about our heroes interfering in the hunt of a self-aware life form. The fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager introduced the Hirogen, a bunch of big-game hunters that put the Eska hunters to shame.

In fairness, wearing a glowing green eye patch on a pitch black planet probably isn't the best strategy...

In fairness, wearing a glowing green eye patch on a pitch black planet probably isn’t the best strategy…

Indeed, it hasn’t even been that long since Star Trek did an episode about hunters pursuing sentient prey. The final season of Voyager had produced Flesh and Blood, a gigantic feature-length television movie around the Hirogen and their pursuit of holograms that had developed self-awareness despite not meeting the more obvious criteria for sentience. This isn’t Enterprise retreading old ground; this is Enterprise retread ground that hosted a big song and dance less than fifteen months earlier. As with Civilisation and Sleeping Dogs before it, Rogue Planet has a definite “been there and done that” feeling to it.

That’s a shame, because there are a host of interesting elements here. They just are pushed into the back seat for a stock science-fiction plot.

Oh, Trip, have some respect!

Oh, Trip, have some respect!

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