Director: Scott Mann
Screenplay: Jonathan Frank, David T. Lynch & Keith Lynch
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ray Stevenson, Alexandra Dinu, Lara Peake, Amit Shah & Pierce Brosnan
BBFC Classification: 15
Die Hard in a footie stadium (not to mention heavily riffing on one of Van Damme’s best, Sudden Death: which is Die Hard in an ice hockey stadium!), this sport themed action movie is a slick hoot. Putting former wrestler turned solid actor Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2) in the lead lifts the film from its formulaic set-up as he proves to be an impressive action lead. He’s a US soldier over in London visiting this niece (a big footie fan) who he decides to take to the Eurpoean semi-final of West Ham v Dynamo FCC. But no sooner have they confronted some painful family history and ordered hot dogs, than the stadium comes under attack from pesky Russian terrorists. Led by the thoroughly bad Arkady (Stevenson), he and his team are looking for his traitor brother Dimitri (Brosnan) who happens to be somewhere in the crowd. Stumbling on their plot, Bautista’s former soldier is the only who can stop them, must rescue his niece from danger and stop the stadium from going kaboom.
Unashamedly embracing its OTT action roots (and much better for it), Final Score is 90 or so minutes of full throttle fun. Helmed by Scott Mann who gave us the equally fun and action soaked The Tournament and here re-teaming with Bautista after their underrated action thriller Heist, Mann orchestrates slick , gritty mayhem as his star gets to work dispatching heavily armed goons. Utilising the football stadium setting well, Mann and his crew deliver 90s flavoured action with aplomb. In fact, the film feels right out of that action film heavy decade, where all you needed was a setting, a hero and a bunch of bad dudes to dispatch. The film also favours more violent edged action meaning viewers get a surfeit of meaty punch ups, bullet riddled action and in one audacious sequence a motorcycle chase through and on top of the stadium. Mann has a knack for gritty action and delivers it here in spades.
There’s an emotional stake as well as Bautista must get his niece to safety, who is played with spikey enthusiasm by Lara Peake, and the bad guys feel like a genuine threat. Ray Stevenson is on fine vile form and is backed up a legion of tough hench-goons including the vicious Alexandra Dinu: she is a whirlwind in the fights scenes and cuts through the film like a heat seeking rocket! There is some comedy banter on hand also to lighten the tone courtesy of Ami Shah’s caught-up-in-the-chaos stadium warden and while it doesn’t always work (some of the ethnic based humour is a bit cringe!) it does provide a few chuckles to accompany all the carnage. Brosnan is unfortunately relegated to an extended cameo and while the drama doesn’t always match the action for grittiness the makers have least tried to flesh it out meaning there is a bit more to chew on between all the boom and bang.
It won’t win points for originality but Final Score delivers on the action front and is another notch on the belt for Bautista as an action star.
Final Score is released in the UK on Digital HD 21st December and DVD & Blu Ray 26th December 2018. Disc comes with a short but informative making of about how the crew used a real stadium to film in and how they attempted to stage as much of the action for real.