J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Big Legend: Tracking the Shaggy Monster


He looks like Chewbacca, so how bad can Sasquatch really be? Bad. Really bad. The hairy beast will make off with Tyler Laird’s fiancée and gets the former Special Forces soldier packed off to the sanitarium for observation. A year later, Laird heads back into the woods for some payback in Justin Lee’s Big Legend (trailer here), which releases today on DVD.

For a while, the camping trip was perfect. He proposed. Natalie said yes, but then a weird noise woke them at night. He stumbles out of the tent, notices some strange rock pilings, and then Big Foot swoops in for Laird’s would-be wife.

Apparently, this led to some sort of PTSD in Laird, which, coupled with his rather incredible memories of the incident in question, got him admitted to a mental health facility. However, Mother Laird never thought he was crazy, so she encourages him to go back and find out what really happened to Natalie.

Frankly, the first act is interminably slow. Fiancé looking for answers—seriously how long does it take to set up that premise? Things perk up a little when Laird eventually teams up with Eli Verunde, another hunter tracking Sasquatch, but in his case, purely out of curiosity. Still, the film completely lacks the charm of Stomping Ground, the colorful supporting characters of Primal Rage, and the intensity of Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek.

It is all very much by the numbers, until the promised Lance Henriksen finally shows up late in the eleventh hour to explain how Big Legend is really the start of a franchise. The frustrating thing is the concept he teases is much more interesting than the movie we have to sit through to get there. This leads to an odd situation, where we can’t recommend Big Legend at all, but we’d like to see the more ambitious sequel get made. This is like an entire proof-of-concept film, but it doesn’t make its case very well.

Kevin Makely is a decently rugged lead and Todd A. Robinson labors mightily to get something going as Verunde. You can’t blame either of them for the film’s underwhelming blahness. The great Adrienne Barbeau is also criminally wasted as Laird’s mom. Of course, Henriksen is totally cool as Jackson Wells, which is why we want to see more of him. There is just way too much hiking and camping in this movie and not enough intelligent behavior. Not recommended (but good luck with more Jackson Wells), Big Legend releases today on DVD and digital HD.

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