Star Rating:

Final Score

Director: Scott Mann

Actors: Dave Bautista, Ray Stevenson

Release Date: Friday 7th September 2018

Genre(s): Action

Running time: 104 minutes

Dave Bautista is Michael Knox, an American ex-soldier come to visit the daughter of a deceased colleague named Danni (Lara Peake) and bring her out to a match in West Ham football ground Upton Park. During the game, a group of Russian terrorists take control, unbeknownst to the 35,000 fans present. Now Michael must use his military skills to save all inside, take down the criminals, and rescue Danni when she is taken hostage.

Even from its production stages, ‘Final Score’ has been referred to as ‘Die Hard in a football stadium’ but unlike other ‘Die Hard’ descendants, most notably the recent ‘Skyscraper’ or ‘Die Hard with Dwayne Johnson’, ‘Final Score’ never takes itself too seriously. In doing so – and in keeping to a concise, close to real-time running length of 100 minutes, which adds to the excitement – it ends up being the exact over-the-top, senseless fun movie that all the best and classic action movies are.

Bautista, fresh off the success of the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ franchise, proves himself well capable of leading a film on his own. His character delivers all the brawn and heart we associate with the actor and his past roles. The Drew Barrymore-like Lara Peake in the role of feisty teenage ‘niece’ and Amit Shal (‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’) as the self-aware comic relief also prove to be excellent additions to the cast.

Those looking for nuance will want to look elsewhere. There is no subtlety in the movie whatsoever, from the violin music that plays when Danni talks of her deceased father, to the slo mo cinematography every time Michael sees something suspicious. The terrorists in the stands, cold and unblinking, stand out like a sore thumb among the cheering, enthusiastic football fans. When the exits and cell phone communication are shut down, there are so many shots to illustrate the point that one is tempted to shout at the screen (much like a football fan, ironically), “We get it already!”

And yet there is so much entertainment to be had from its amusing characters and energetic action – which includes sequences of Dave Bautista jumping off buildings (with some dodgy CGI involved) and driving a motorcycle through a stadium as well as skilful combat sequences – that you really won’t care.

The weakest link to ‘Final Score’ is undoubtedly its cartoonish (yes, even for an action movie) and forgettable team of antagonists, which includes Ray Stevenson, bodybuilder Martyn Ford and Alexandra Dinu. Pierce Brosnan has very little time on-screen and the political storyline is essentially extraneous. Still, all looking for a rip-roaring, entertaining, popcorn movie will be far from disappointed. ‘Final Score’ delivers exactly what it says on the tin and is ridiculous, joyful, re-watchable fun.