Final Score was pitched as ‘Die Hard in a football stadium,’ and that’s as good a description as any. It’s one of a long line of Die Hard rip-offs, the most notable being Speed (a.k.a. Die Hard on a bus), with this year‘s entry being Skyscraper, with The Rock. This one had a smaller budget, and takes place in West Ham United’s former football grounds. Dave Bautista (an ex-wrestler who has appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy and actually isn’t a bad actor) plays ex-soldier Mike Knox, who goes to see West Ham with his niece. The game is interrupted when Russian mercenaries appear, and his niece is taken hostage.
There’s a convoluted plot about revolutionaries in the fictional Russian state of Sakovya. One of the leaders, Dmitri, played by Pierce Brosnan, has been hiding out in London but the revolutionaries want him to help them continue their cause. And since he’s somewhere in the stadium, the mercenaries take over the stadium to try to flush him out. As an American ex-military type, Bautista does fine in the mode of big action stars like Sylvester Stallone. He has a few funny lines as well. He was quite vocal in his support of director James Gunn recently, which may earn him some extra goodwill.
If you take it for what it is, it doesn’t reach the genre-copy high-water-mark of Speed, but it’s perfectly decent. There’s not as much going on in the story as there was in Die Hard, especially in terms of developing the secondary characters. Brosnan in particular is completely wasted, which is a shame, as he’s one of our most underrated and underused actors with great comedic timing but has some serious dramatic chops as well. He barely has any dialogue here.
It doesn’t deliver as many amazing stunts as Die Hard, but there’s a fair bit of action, including a big centrepiece featuring a motorcycle chase on the top of the stadium, which is a pretty impressive sequence. The location works well, as they were able to get access to Boleyn Stadium just before it was torn down, giving it better production values than you would expect for a film released directly to Sky Cinema in addition to a small theatrical run in selected cinemas.
So, Final Score delivers what promises. The disc also includes a short making-of feature.