Dave Bautista becomes a one-man army in this action-packed thriller that can be described as a 21st-century Sudden Death with a bit of a twist.
Mike Knox is an ex-soldier who has come to London to visit the widow and daughter of a fallen comrade, who sees Mike as family. Mike, still reeling from the death of his “brother”, invites his niece Danni to the final West Ham United game to be played at West Ham Stadium. It is there where Danni finally reveals her feeling of neglect from her late father. When Danni splits from Mike to go with crush Brandon, trouble soon ensues.
An international war criminal, Arkady Belav, has broken free after serving seventeen years. He gathers a rogue group of Sokovian terrorists in an attempt to find his apparently dead elder brother, Dimitri, who actually has faked his death in a plea deal with Interpol and is now believed to be in London. When Arkady and his team plant C4 explosives in the stadium with the threat to detonate the material is Dimitri is not found, Mike finds himself in the battle when he searches for Danni. This leads to a series of events where Mike soon learns that Danni is in danger and he will have to do whatever it takes to save her as well as West Ham Stadium.
Die Hard had Bruce Willis in a high-rise and Sudden Death had Jean-Claude Van Damme in a hockey stadium. What about the new millennium? Well, bring in 2018, it is time for a rightful action star to take the reins in being that one-man army in a big building type and in this case, it’s none other than Dave Bautista, who has more than proven his worth thanks to his iconic role of Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Bautista does quite well as central character Mike Knox, who is more than just a typical action hero, but one who is truly flawed. Still reeling from the death of his fellow soldier that he considers a brother and perhaps a case of PTSD, Knox only wants to ensure the safety of his brother’s family. In addition, when it comes to his action scenes, it is clear that despite his massive build, Knox is far from the indestructible type, but one who does attempt to get help from the authorities even taking a major risk of what’s at stake.
Ray Stevenson, who like Bautista has a connection to Marvel (having played both the Punisher in 2008’s War Zone and played Asgardian warrior Volstagg in the MCU), is quite great as mastermind Arkady Belav. Unless he has an absolute necessary to do so, he prefers to let his group do more of the action and these include the likes of Gordon Alexander, Boyka: Undisputed big baddie Martyn Ford, and Alexandra Dinu while Pierce Brosnan brings more of an extended cameo as the long believed to be dead Dimitri, who is in hiding due to Interpol. While Lara Peake’s Danni has that typical teen angsty side, kudos must go out to Amit Shah’s Faisal, who becomes an unexpected ally to Knox and provide the film’s comic relief. Look out for Hong Kong star Julian Cheung as Interpol Agent Cho, who goes at odds with local authority Steed, played by Ralph Brown.
The action scenes are fun to watch, including some extreme fisticuffs within an elevator, a kitchen fight that melds shootout, knife fight, and something insane, and of all things, a motorcycle chase within the stadium. Bautista has rarely had a chance to carry his own action film, but with this film, it may just help his reputation as he proves to be a flawed big guy who goes into action when needed.
Final Score is definitely a 21st-century Sudden Death mixed in with a Die Hard-style central character who is both flawed and has the ability to do what it takes to save those close to him. First, it was Bruce Willis, then Van Damme. Now, it’s rightfully time to add Dave Bautista to the list.
WFG RATING: B+
Saban Films and Signature Entertainment present a Fyzz Facility production in association with Drybake Productions and Highland Film Group. Director: Scott Mann. Producers: Marc Goldberg, Wayne Marc Godfrey, James Harris, Dave Bautista, Robert Jones, Jonathan Meisner, and Mark Lane. Writers: Jonathan Frank, Keith Lynch, and David T. Lynch. Cinematography: Emil Topuzov. Editing: Robert Hall.
Cast: Dave Bautista, Ray Stevenson, Lara Peake, Alexandra Dinu, Pierce Brosnan, Amit Shah, Ralph Brown, Julian Cheung, Gordon Alexander, Lee Charles, Martyn Ford, Lucy Gaskell, Craig Conway.