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BIG LEGEND (2018))
Directed by Justin Lee
Written by Justin Lee
Starring Kevin Makely, Todd A. Robinson, Summer Spiro, Amanda Wyss, Ashley Platz, Lance Henriksen, Adrienne Barbeau, & ??? as the Bigfoot!
Taking quite a few pages from the original PREDATOR, BIG LEGEND is an ultra-fun, action horror film. While the film was made on a modest budget, it’s rather interesting to see the take on Bigfoot as a Predator style monster, bent on battering anything that enters it’s territory. It’s a stance on the big guy that I first saw in the exceptional PRIMAL RAGE and I think it’s an interesting twist on Bigfoot’s long history in cinema.
Ex-soldier Tyler (Kevin Makely) plans the perfect hiking vacation with his girlfriend Natalie (Summer Spiro). But just after proposing, the lover’s blissful break from the city is interrupted by a giant hairy beast which swipes Natalie from their tent and leaves Tyler in the hospital. Once released from the hospital, Tyler vows to find his fiancé and get revenge on that darn Sasquatch. Along the way, Tyler meets an outdoorsman (Todd A. Robinson) who knows about the local lore of a giant monster lurking sacred Native American territory. The two set out to take the fight to the beast, but will military training be enough to take on this monster of myth?
Moreso than the last few PREDATOR films, BIG LEGEND tries to capture the machismo that exuded from the original PREDATOR film (and maybe the first sequel). This might come off as cheesey at times, but BIG LEGEND is just that—cheesey fun, from start to finish. Sure there are a lot of action movie tropes that are being used, but set against the backdrop of a Bigfoot film, this actioner works amazingly well. Makely isn’t the best actor. In fact, he’s rather goofy at times. Then again, he is physically fit to the role and serves as a good match for the monster in the woods. Much of the film simply demands on physical performances, as this is a film that relies more on action than anything else. These action scenes are done really well, showing that filmmaker Justin Lee has quite a bit of skill in his bag of tricks. The tough moments definitely occur when some emoting is required. Makely just isn’t able to do that believably, but hell, neither could Arnold. So I can’t put that against the actor. What BIG LEGEND is—is a low fi action film that happens to have a Bigfoot at the big bad. And dammit, it works!
One of the things that makes this film work so well is that the Bigfoot himself looks absolutely awesome. With long strands of hair in its face and across its hulking frame, the beast looks a bit like Rob Zombie on steroids. This “shaggy dog” look makes for a menacing monster, reminiscent of Looney Tunes’ Gossamer more than anything else. Filmmaker Justin Lee does a great job of keeping the monster under wraps, showing him in the periphery or in the background in the shadows, but fear not, the monster is revealed and in focus for the climax and it’s quite a sight to see. I also loved the attention to Bigfoot lore. The suggestions that Native Americans had a deal of sorts with Bigfoot, the knocks, the howls, the suggestion that Bigfoot is a carnivore—there are a lot of nice and intricate details that shows Lee has done his homework in all things Bigfoot.
BIG LEGEND is a big, fun action flick. It’s not too heady. It’s emotional impact is a tough pill to swallow, but in the end, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Those looking for major roles for its advertised cast (Adrienne Barbeau, Amanda Wyss, and Lance Henriksen) are going to be disappointed as the horror icons only have a few minutes of supporting roles each. This is Makely’s show and as an action star, he is able to carry the weight. The film actually tries to open up it’s own universe in a suggested sequel and I hope Lee gets the funding to do it. Playing like a low fi PREDATOR, BIG LEGEND does a lot of good with its budget and delivers quite a lot of gritty action and horror.
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