The Wednesday reviews are reserved for new or somehow top-rated films. This is Final Score from last year (2018), streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Since I don’t recognize any of the players, this one must have made the cut by virtue of freshness. It turns out some of the plot features are not all that fresh. I will explain. Details are from Wikipedia. Here is a cast list.
- Dave Bautista as Michael Knox
- Pierce Brosnan as Dimitri Belav
- Ray Stevenson as Arkady Belav
- Alexandra Dinu as Tatiana
- Martyn Ford as Vlad Ivanov
- Lara Peake as Danni
- Amit Shah as Faisal Khan
- Lucy Gaskell as Rachel
- Ralph Brown as Chief Commander Steed
- Julian Cheung as Agent Cho
- Aaron McCusker as Captain Reynolds
- Bill Fellows as Superintendent Thompson
Start by noting the improbable story. There was a revolt in the Russian state of Sakovya , assumed to be fictional. Lots of people got killed with no resolution in sight. We see TV coverage of victims.
Then there was a resolution. The two Belav brothers were the inspiration for the revolt, and Dimitri got killed. The revolt collapsed.
But 17 years later, Arkady figures his brother’s death was faked to end the fighting, and he uses intense means to extract information. Like stringing up a subject by his ankles and going to work with a sharp blade. Arkady is one tough hombre.
Cut to London, where Michael Knox has arrived for a visit. He is ex-military, and he is one tough hombre. This is going to be some kind of match-up.
Cut to the not-so-stable home of a London family. Teenage daughter Danni is grounded, and she sneaks out her upper floor window to spend some time with her boyfriend, who she finds to be cute. She gets her footing after climbing down, and she is grabbed from behind. It’s Mike, come to visit his favorite niece.
Mike has tickets for the big football match, and he convinces Danni’s mother to let her go. After all, what could possibly go wrong?
It doesn’t take long to find out. Some Russians infiltrate West Ham Stadium, prepared for mayhem. Arkady leads the posse, which includes Tatiana, his main squeeze. She is one tough hombre.
They move quickly. They have a mission. They kill for convenience and, whenever beneficial, to make a point. They take over the stadium control room, effectively becoming masters of all that goes on in the stadium. Fans, players, viewers on TV, security outside, all have no idea anything is going on.
Mike leaves their seats during the game to get hot dogs. Mike notices some tough hombres about. Danni uses the opportunity to slip off to meet the boyfriend. The boyfriend turns out to be a total jerk, pressing for flesh right there in a secluded niche in the stadium. Mike goes looking. He runs into stadium guard Faisal. Faisal will take him to the control room where he can ask that an announcement for Danni be made. They need to go to the control room, because, for some reason, local communications have been disabled.
Throughout the major part of the movie we see shots of the game going on inside the stadium. Often the view switches back and forth between the action on the field and the action behind the bleachers.
On the way to the control room Mike and Faisal run into one of Arkady’s men, Andrei. He is one tough hombre. They insist on taking the elevator up to the control room. Andrei rides along with them. Mike grows suspicious. Andrei seems out of place. The situation escalates suddenly. Mike and Andrei engage in a fight to the death in the elevator. Andrei gets the upper hand and starts to strangle Mike. Faisal hands Andrei’s pistol to Mike. Game over. Now what to do with the body. Faisal is overwhelmed. This kind of shit was not supposed to happen.
The plot now devolves to a rerun of Die Hard. Nakatomi Tower becomes West Ham Stadium. Sgt. Al Powell becomes Faisal Khan, Mike’s only ally at the onset.
Andrei fails to check in. Two Russians go looking for him. They seal off the kitchen doors after viewing security video and seeing Mike there. When they go in to kill Mike, he kills them both. Here one of the Russians burns alive from an explosion of hot cooking oil. A knife has ended up in a deep fryer full of hot oil. This recalls the scene from Outland. Marshal William T. O’Niel (Sean Connery) chases down a drug dealer on Io and plunges his hand into boiling water to retrieve the evidence. Unbelievably we see Mike pluck the knife from the deep fryer and kill the second Russian.
The Die Hard plot continues. Mikes jiggers a radio to contact the outside. He is patched through to Chief Commander Steed (London police). But the terrorists are monitoring the transmission, and when Steed contacts the stadium he is informed everything is just peachy. Steed tells Mike to quit playing games, and he hangs up.
Mike tosses one of the dead Russians off an upper level onto a car parked below, a scene we know by heart. This gets the world’s attention.
The Russians hunt down Danni. They will use her for leverage to counter Mike. They catch up with Danni and Faisal. One points a gun at Danni. Faisal steps in between and catches a bullet. This is how you win a woman’s heart. They’re going to get the idea you will always be there for them.
But the terrorists have planted explosives. It’s Nakatomi Tower all over again. Only here there is a protracted motorcycle chase as the Russians try to neutralize Mike.
The explosives will go off when the game clock reaches 90. Football games are 90 minutes.
The Russians have Danni. Faisal employs a ruse to clear the threatened section. The bombs go off.
But Danni was not in the affected section, after all. Everybody unites on the now-empty playing field.
Besides the shameless borrowing from previous movie plots, this one stirs some serious afterthought.
The explosives will go off when the clock reaches 90. If you were to walk out on the playing field and interrupt the game, would that not force them to stop the clock?
We see Faisal take a bullet. He falls to the floor, and the Russians cart Danni away. But Faisal does not die. Eventually he gets up. I was hoping to see some blood. This is not explained.
Talk about jumping the shark! High in the stadium Mike escapes by grabbing onto a large banner and taking a massive swing to another perch across the stadium. Tarzan, are you watching?
At the end we learn all Andrei wanted was to locate his brother and convince him to come back to the revolution. Dude, an ad in the paper should have been sufficient.