Final Score (2018)

An ex US soldier visiting his niece in the UK goes to a soccer (football) game with her in the hopes of connecting with the teen. Once there, a terrorist group looms over the game and threatens his niece’s life as well as that of thousands of people. As he works to prevent the worse, reasons for the attack are made clearer and things get more complicated.

Written by Jonathan Frank, David T. Lynch, and Keith Lynch with Scott Mann directing, Final Score is built like a 80s/90s action film and feels just like some of the most fun ones of that period. The way the story develops from the opening to things really kicking off at the 20-minute mark is exactly like all those fun, higher budget action films fans have been missing. The story is fairly simple, bad guy wants something; good guy gets in the way. Here the film is most definitely meant to be a vehicle for Dave Bautista and he is the clear hero, a bit like Stallone, Van Damme, Lundgren, et al used to be and still are from time to time.

As the film is clearly Bautista’s, his presence is omnipresent and his performance makes the film. He gives his best hero in action as well as his best caring uncle performance here considering this is an action movie made for the sake of action. It’s not particularly deep, but it’s fun and Bautista gets to show that he can fight and he can break some bones on film. He does this very well here and shows he was and is the right choice for these kinds of fun parts. Playing his nemesis is Ray Stevenson who just goes for broke, full on evil, guiding and directing a crew of bad people ready to fight Bautista’s character for him. He plays conning well and just gives off the right level of evil attempted-overlord. He adds to the fun and makes it a good back and forth between Bautista and himself. Playing the niece and adding a bit of annoyance to the proceeding, something that is clearly done on purpose is Lara Peake who gives a good performance as a typical movie teenager getting herself into trouble and needing a rescue. The cast is rounded out by mostly typical villains fighting Bautista with varying levels of success. They are fun to watch and fun to just see get basically crushed.

Final Score is very much about the action, so props must go to the stunt team lead by Peter Pedrero who all do fantastic work here, seamlessly blending themselves in the scenes and letting the stars look really good in fights where they may or may not be the ones on the screen. The stunt work in Final Score is a major part of what makes the film so much fun to watch.

Making all of it look good is the cinematography by Emil Topuzov and the editing by Robert Hall, both of which build great images and create a rhythm for the film. The action scenes must be noted here as the fighting is visible, watchable without having to squint or guest what is going on. That means the viewer can actually see what is going on and enjoy the action and the fighting. The style is very throwback to the 80s and it works great here. Also very 80s style are the soundtrack choices with some songs that feel straight out of films like Cobra or Commando with a few rap songs thrown in for current flavor.

Final Score is a fun action romp set in modern times with modern worries but created and shot like an 80s/90s action film. It’s one of those things that feel right in terms of throwback with its nostalgia in the right place and the right way of doing things for its own good. The film is enjoyable and exciting with a bit of a predictable ending, but it doesn’t hurt the action or the final product.