Final Score (Blu-ray)
Dave Bautista makes soccer interesting in the action thriller Final Score, now on Blu-ray!
When former Navy SEAL Michael Knox (Dave Bautista) takes his British niece to a soccer match, terrorists take over the stadium and abduct her, forcing him to take action. Also stars Ray Stevenson, Amit Shah, and Pierce Brosnan. Directed by Scott Mann.
In one of the bonus features, Dave Bautista describes Final Score as “Die Hard in a football stadium.” It’s an honest assessment, as the film borrows heavily from the Bruce Willis actioner - not only are some plot points repeated here, even a couple of lines of dialogue are lifted.
That doesn’t mean Final Score is as good as Die Hard, because it isn’t. At best, it’s an entertaining diversion, when it doesn’t constantly remind you of other, better action movies. Besides Bautista, Final Score stars another Marvel movie alum, Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone and the Thor films), Pierce “007” Brosnan, and thousands of the dumbest soccer fans in the world.
Perhaps I shouldn’t demean the soccer fans depicted in the film; after all, they are stupid because the script by the Brothers Lynch and Jonathan Frank makes them that way. The premise, which involves a group of Russian terrorists taking over a British soccer stadium filled with fans, requires the fans to be blissfully ignorant.
Even so, it makes it difficult to be sympathetic when a stadium full of fans conveniently never reacts to repeated gunfire, bloody people running around, and a motorcycle jump off of the stadium roof, choosing instead to keep cheering on the game, which is never halted.
When it isn’t ripping off Die Hard, Final Score actually rips off other Die Hard rip-offs, most notably Sudden Death, a Jean Claude Van Damme film from the 90s. Holding an entire stadium hostage without the fans’ knowledge pushed the limits of believability in a 90s Van Damme movie. In 2018, it’s even harder to pull off. There are attempts to explain it (with a stadium lockdown and cell service being blocked), yet it’s hard to imagine that no one would try to enter or leave the stadium for 90 minutes without realizing what’s happened. We are also supposed to believe the ticket takers at the gates and the stadium security conveniently disappear and allow all this to happen.
There are more plot holes galore that test your suspension of disbelief. Sure, plenty of other action films have plot holes, but few pile them on and hope you don’t notice like Final Score. Even when the final battle breaks out, and the cops outside (who are aware of what’s happening) have the chance to open the gates and save people, they don’t. They seem willing to wait for Bautista to do his thing before they decide to do something.
Bautista deserves better than this script for an action film he is leading. He’s an underrated actor, as his other films have shown his range and charisma. Here, however, there isn’t much call for him to flesh out his character or add any dimension to it. He gets a single scene in which he discusses his past, but the film needed more of those humanizing moments.
Both Ray Stevenson and Pierce Brosnan (as well as Bautista) manage to make the film far more entertaining than it would be without them. Each have their moments, and the film benefits from their scenery-chewing. The movie overall has a certain B-movie charm with a definite 80s action film vibe, and Bautista delivers a pretty satisfying ending.
With a couple of standout stunts and some decent fight scenes (although the shaky cam is a bit much), Final Score is certainly watchable, as long as you don’t set your expectations too high. There are plot holes galore, and the logic can be maddening, but Bautista and company at least make it a fun ride.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The blu-ray’s high-definition video transfer is excellent, providing superb detail, even in low light. The film’s cinematography is impressive for a modestly-budgeted action film, and the transfer does it justice.
The 5.1 DTS-HDMA soundtrack is quite good - there’s nice channel separation, and the gunfire and explosions give the speakers a nice workout.
There’s a minimal amount of extras, but the best special feature is by far the audio commentary, wherein the writer and director aren’t afraid to roast their own film over the plot holes.
The bonus features included on the blu-ray are as follows:
“Setting the Final Score” featurette. Dave Baustista, Ray Stevenson, director Scott Mann, and members of the crew discuss the film, including filming actual explosions at a soccer stadium. Running Time: 7:15
Deleted Scenes. Seven deleted scenes (mostly alternate takes and trims from existing scenes) are featured, all included together in a single reel. Running Time: 5:59
Audio Commentary. Director Scott Mann, writer Jonathan Frank, actor Amit Shah (who plays Faisal), and editor Robert Hall all participate in this commentary. The participants are all surprisingly frank about the film, and they even joke about the many plot holes that they hope you didn’t notice on your own. It’s surprisingly entertaining considering the lead stars of the film don’t participate, and I give them credit for not taking the movie too seriously and laughing at the shortcomings.
Digital Copy. A code that can be redeemed for a digital copy of the movie is included. The code is valid for services including VUDU and FandangoNow, but Lionsgate movies do not carry over (nor can they be redeemed) through the Movies Anywhere service.
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Running Time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish
Special Features: Featurette, deleted scenes, digital copy.
Audio Commentary: Participants include director Scott Mann, writer Jonathan Frank, actor Amit Shah, and editor Rob Hall.