Scott Mann/ UK/ 2018/ 103 mins
Available on VOD Fri 21 Dec 2018, on DVD & Blu-Ray Wed 26 Dec 2018
Ex-soldier Michael Know (Dave Bautista) has come for a flying visit to London, to visit the teenage daughter of a man who died under his command, and to take her to the cup final. However their surrogate parent-daughter afternoon is ruined when Arkady (Ray Stevenson) and his gang of Sokovian mercenaries have taken over the stadium in order to find his long-lost politician brother, Dmitri (Pierce Brosnan). Soon enough, it’s up to Knox to take down the terrorists single handed; although he does have some slight support from Amit Shah as Faisal, a flustered security attendant who gets most of the film’s comic relief.
There’s a very telling moment included on the single extra feature on Final Score‘s DVD release. During the short Making of feature, the director refers to the film as “Die Hard in a football stadium”, a statement that could not be more apt in any way. Don’t expect a single whiff of originality, or anything unique from anyone in this film.
The “Die Hard in a…” film format is nothing new, and has been a staple of schlock action drama since the 1980s. Final Score not only pays homage to the granddaddy of the genre, but lifts complete lines and moments from the film. Not that it’s even unique in the stadium angle, as connoisseurs of straight to DVD film will no doubt notice that the film also liberally borrows from the Jean-Claude Van Damme film, Sudden Death, which features a very similar plot during an ice hockey match.
One aspect of the film that may earn it some extra credit from footie fans, is that it was filmed entirely on location at Upton Park during the month before it was demolished. So it stands as a quaint homage to the old West Ham stadium, and a fitting send off, and explains how they were allowed to wreak quite so much damage to the place during the film. However it doesn’t really raise itself above the parapet of mediocrity in any other facet.
However, despite this being a clear “doing it for the paycheck” movie for everyone involved, its surprisingly entertaining. Every beat you expect lands and every corny line will raise a smile. Dave Bautista also does himself credit and shows that he has nothing to prove in the action stakes. Frankly, Final Score is more fun that it has any right to be, but still is largely forgettable.