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Film / Final Score

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It's all about to kick off

Final Score is an Action Genre movie directed by Scott Mann, who previously directed The Tournament and Heist (2015). The screenplay was written by David and Keith Lynch, and the premise can essentially be summed up as Die Hard in a football stadium (soccer stadium to Americans).

Dave Bautista stars as Michael Knox, a former soldier forced back into action when armed criminals led by Arkady (Ray Stevenson) seize control of a stadium. The sporting occasion is a European cup semi-final match involving West Ham United of the English Premier League, which Michael is attending with his niece Danni. The bad guys demand the authorities hand over Arkady's brother Dimitri (Pierce Brosnan) before the match ends, otherwise they will detonate bombs with the 35,000 strong crowd still inside.

For authenticity, the movie was shot on location at Upton Park in London (also known as The Boleyn Ground), formerly home to West Ham before the team relocated to the London Stadium.

Final Score - a Sky Cinema Original Film - also stars Julian Cheung, Alexandra Dinu and Martyn Ford. A trailer can be viewed on the movie's IMDB page.

No connection to the BBC football results and analysis programme with the same title, or the now-defunct FSN Final Score that aired on Fox's regional sports networks (and RSNs owned by other companies) in the late 2000s. Or the 1986 film starring Chris Mitchum.

Final Score provides examples of:

  • Badass Biker:
    • Knox drives a motorcycle at high speed through the concourse and then across the stadium roof dodging bullets along the way. This sequence culminates in a stunt jump with the floodlights and capacity crowd as a backdrop.
    • Tatiana chases Knox along said roof on a motorcycle, so she qualifies as a female version.
  • Bald of Evil: Arkady.
  • The Brute: Vlad is a giant strongman whose introduction involves him crashing through a derelict building in Eastern Europe to capture a fleeing prisoner. He has a lengthy fight with Knox - during which he shrugs off numerous attacks before he's finally dispatched.
  • Boom, Headshot!: There's a high body count, with many people (both innocent civilians and bad guys) being killed in this manner.
  • Building Swing: To retrieve the bomb killswitch before it slides off the roof, Knox swings across the stadium using a cloth banner.
  • The Cameo: BBC football commentator Jonathan Pearce - known for covering domestic matches and men's and women's senior international tournaments - provides commentary for the match. He even gets to add some black comic relief after Arkady executes a studio team in cold blood.
    Jonathan Pearce: We've lost contact with the studio. Just can't get the staff these days.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early on Knox and Danni have a pretend fight where he grabs her from behind, and she headbutts him to escape his grasp. Knox makes a comment that Danni 'uses her head' as he taught her. At the climax Knox gives a covert instruction for Danni to use this same technique to escape from Arkady's grasp so he can get a clean shot.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Replace "FBI" with "London Police" in this instance. The CIA stands in for the FBI of Die Hard, prioritizing eliminating Arkady and keeping Dimitri's existence a secret over the safety of the civilians in the stadium. Agent Cho, the CIA liaison on the ground, also makes a couple of snarking remarks about how much he hates soccer as he makes clear the aforementioned lack of care about civilian lives (unsurprisingly this makes Commander Steed decide to smash his nose in).
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: Twice in the film West Ham score a goal to create a convenient distraction for the heroes. The first allows Danni to escape Arkady's men by moving through the cheering crowd. The second distracts the crowd while Tatiana pursues Knox on the roof.
  • Covert Distress Code: When Knox first warns Metropolitan Police commander Steed about the attack, he gives Knox the benefit of the doubt and calls the control room superintendent. The conversation includes lines about the weather, but the hapless superintendent - fearing for his family's safety - responds the weather is fine, even after Steed asks for clarity.
  • Dark Action Girl: Leather-clad Tatiana - the female mercenary played by Alexandra Dinu - uses a submachine gun, kickboxing skills and a knife in her attempt to eliminate Knox. Behind the scenes footage (featuring Bautista and stuntwoman Rubie Planson) can be seen on Youtube.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Stadium worker Faisal - who suffers a beating and assists Knox - provides some comic relief.
    Faisal: I knew I should have taken the job at Arsenal.
  • Death Before Dishonor: Or in this case, "death before further dishonor". When Dimitri finally decides to oblige his brother's demands and meet him, he makes clear that he prefers the new life the CIA gave him and he doesn't want to go back. Arkady makes clear that he won't accept that and gives Dimitri a gun and orders him to shoot Danni - an innocent bystander and The Hero's niece - to prove that he still has commitment to the revolution. Dimitri blows his own brains out instead.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: One man versus armed bad guys at a UK football stadium.
  • Disney Villain Death: A mercenary is pushed off the stadium roof. Although technically he's already dead.
  • The Dragon: Tatiana fills this role, serving as Knox's lieutenant. She survives for most of the movie and battles Knox on numerous occasions.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: The villains have one in Tatiana, a fighting female with a cornrow-style haircut. The tough girl image is completed by the mandatory leather outfit.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The setting for a brutal fight between Knox and a thug, with a terrified stadium worker watching on as the two men struggle.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As ruthless as he is, Arkady is shown to care for his brother Dimitri, as is shown when he breaks down when Dimitri kills himself.
  • Evil Genius: Arkady's computer technician is an expert hacker who gains control of stadium security.
  • Faking the Dead: To end the revolution in Sakovia, the UK government - likely working with the Americans - fakes Dimitri's death and provides him with a new identity.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the motorcycle jump sequence a banner can be seen on the background rootop. The text Farewell Boleyn suggests the movie is set during West Ham's final match at the old stadium.
    • It's explicitly stated at least twice in the film that the match is "West Ham's last at the stadium" by the TV commentator.
  • Fingore:
  • I Have Your Wife:
    • Arkady threatens the control room superintendent's family - which proves to be an effective strategy.
    • After Knox interferes with their plans, the bad guys kidnap Danni to force him to co-operate.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When Arkady asks his brother Dimitri to prove his loyalty to the cause - and incite a second revolution in his home country - Dimitri shoots himself in the head.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Knox uses a fire extinguisher to knock down a bad guy during the stadium bike chase.
    • In the elevator fight, the mercenary thug rips off a handrail to use against Knox.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Tatiana fires a whole clip of submachine gun bullets at Knox during the motorcycle chase, but somehow misses completely - even after she stops to aim.
  • Inertial Impalement: Tatiana falls onto a protruding metal rod at the end of her fight with Knox. She survives just long enough to issue a few final threats.
  • It's Personal:
    • After Knox kills Vlad relatively early on, his lover Tatiana is determined to avenge him.
    • The motivation for the attack is personal for Arkady. He's looking for his brother and former comrade-in-arms Dimitri.
  • Kick the Dog: The mercenaries - especially Arkady and Tatiana - are portrayed as merciless psychopaths who murder innocent civilians without giving them a chance to surrender. One particularly notable instance has Arkdady shoot a trio of sports presenters - for nothing more than dramatic effect - after one has finished reading a televised statement of demands. He then follows up Steed's attempt to initiate contact and negotiate (standard "let a few hostages go as a show of good faith") by threatening to execute a greater amount of female hostages to those he releases and toss the corpses off the rooftop in front of the press "as a show of resilience" and ordering Steed to just give him what he wants.
  • MockGuffin: Knox risks life and limb to retrieve the bomb disabling killswitch from Arkady. It turns out to be a fake device designed to fool the authorities - Arkady has no intention of disarming the explosives.
  • Police Are Useless: Mostly averted. The police commander is relatively competent.
    • Steed doesn't initally believe Knox when he calls about the mercenary threat, but he does check with the control room superintendent and even uses a duress code. Unfortunately the superintendent is scared of what Arkady will do to his family so doesn't take the opportunity to tip Steed off.
    • Steed works with Knox rather than against him, and doesn't risk the lives of his officers needlessly.
  • Prisoner Exchange: Happens on the stadium roof late on when the villains demand Knox hand over Dimitri in exchange for their hostage Danni. Naturally the villains intend to ambush Knox after the trade but he has plans of his own, and uses the darkness and blinding floodlights as cover to send himself in Dimitri's place.
  • Psycho Knife Nut: Tatiana uses a miltary style knife during a fight with Knox. She also cuts Danni's face with it while the poor girl is held hostage.
  • Race Against the Clock: Knox has roughly ninety minutes to save the day before the mercenaries detonate bombs around the stadium.
  • Retirony: The sports broadcast mentions early and repeatedly that it's the final football game before the stadium is demolished (there is also a "Farewell, Boleyn!" banner dangling from the rafters that becomes a Chekhov's Gun). A significant chunk of said demolition happens way ahead of schedule at the climax.
  • Ruritania: Dimitri Belav and Arkady are respectively the former leader and general of a failed revolution in the fictional Eastern European country Sakovia.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous ones to Die Hard:
    • The villains lock down the building after gaining access.
    • Someone The Dragon cares about dies early on, leading to a personal vendetta against the hero.
    • After the hero fails to convince the police the threat is real, he drops the dead body of a Mook off the stadium roof to get their attention.
  • Soccer-Hating Americans: A running gag throughout the film.
    • Knox often makes comments about hating the sport.
    • After Steed confronts Agent Cho about him prioritising Dimitri over the innocents in the stadium, he loses his cool after Cho makes a comment about 'soccer'.
      Steed: It's football! (punches Cho in the face)
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Nobody in the crowd seems to notice Knox riding a mid-air motorcycle or swinging above them on a banner. Must be an engrossing match.
    • Numerous scenes involve gunfights and explosives going off in the concourse. There's also a bike chase through a crowded concourse, a rooftop shootout involving armed SAS troopers in a helicopter, and the bad guys booby trap the turnstiles with C4 explosives. Nobody in the stadium - except for the main characters - notices the ongoing chaos.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Knox and Tatiana engage in a bloody kickboxing duel. The villains - as one might expect - have no problem threatening the kidnapped Danni.
  • You Have Failed Me: A rare exact word example, quickly followed by an off-screen execution.
    Arkady: You have failed me, superintendent.