At first you’re confused: how did ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ megastar Dave Bautista find himself here, enduring Cockney platitudes in a black cab, sitting in an East End pub and buying hot dogs at Upton Park? Is that what happens after Thanos turns you to dust in ‘Avengers’?
Billed as ‘“Die Hard” in a football stadium’, ‘Final Score’ readies you for a cheap knock-off. Yet this film about a brawny everyman taking on Russian terrorists who are intent on blowing up West Ham’s former ground (it was filmed in 2016, before the stadium was demolished) is a wildcard: intense and funny, with occasional flashes of real brilliance.
Director Scott Mann shoves and pushes you into the chaos, the rather brutal punching, chasing, slicing and dicing made human by the film’s troupe. Bautista is hugely likeable, while his sidekicks – Lara Peake as his stubborn niece, and Amit Shah as a terrified ground steward – are a blast. And then there’s Pierce Brosnan, inexplicably cast as a Russian, utterly ridiculous in a big old beard, dispensing pointless metaphors about chickens.
This film is what it is: there are slatherings of cheese and corn; there’s a peculiar use of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. But it is wittier, warmer and more unpredictable than it has any right to be. It may shamelessly be ‘Die Hard’ in a football stadium, but it’s a lot better than actual recent ‘Die Hard’ films. A hoot.