Director: Scott Mann.
I only noticed the posters for this actioner last week at bus stops and advertising boards, and it appears to be Sky Cinema’s attempt to follow in Netflix’s footsteps of churning out their own films. This not being their first, and certainly not to be their last. Made on a relatively small budget of $20million, the film doesn’t exactly shout massive blockbuster, but hey. Dave Bautista on the cover so it can’t be all bad, right?
It’s the rather typical, everyday hero with some special military background, stumbles upon somewhat of terrorist attack, who then does everything they possibly can to foil their evil plans. And this bears all of the same insignias these typical actioners. Theres the hero, Michael Knox, ex-US military-come-merc played by Bautista; there’s the main villain, a Russian despot with a political goal; the unfair odds of hero versus main villain and his many goons. Our hero’s Achilles’ heel that comes in the form of his Niece; the enclosed setting, this being West Ham’s old Boleyn ground stadium and finally, the action.
It’s not exactly the most believable scenario but the premise does offer some interesting situations and I can imagine this looked exciting on paper. It all kicks off when a Russian terror group take control of an unsuspecting football match, trying to find a long lost brother-to-the-cause, to hopefully reignite a revolution. But Knox, having taken his teenage niece to the game, stumbles on their plan and discovers the whole stadium is on lockdown and there is a potential life threatening danger to everyone inside.
The story’s structure is very much a mix of Die Hard and Last Boy Scout but doesn’t have the same sharp-tongued dialogue; unfortunately having a very weak and clichéd script. This, as a result doesn’t really allow the cast to offer much else other than their own presence to the film and much of the story is directed at Bautista’s character.
It’s one of those films where one of the top billing stars gets very little screen time and is there purely to bolster the roster. Brosnan and Stevenson give awful and annoying Russian accents, though Stevenson manages well to portray his character physically. Bautista tries so hard and is the best thing of this film, but Amit Shah is definitely worthy of a mention who’s brilliant as Faisal Khan, an enthusiastic stadium steward; who is almost reminiscent of Die Hard’s limo driver, Argyle.
Martyn Ford makes a great adversary managing to even dwarf the bulking Bautista; and if that’s really Alexandra Dinu performing all her own kicks, then I’m impressed. These two henchpeople really stuck out and actually offered a threat to Bautista. The short but sweet chemistry between the two (Dinu/Ford) reminded me of Blade II’s Lighthammer and Verlaine, and Aliens’ Drake and Vasquez.
The action is slick and well captured and pieced together, especially the fighting in enclosed spaces; but the setups are too predictable and convenient. Director Scott Mann, proves he’s got the flair to make good action sequences with come creative elements using the surroundings and props. The stunt work is good and there’s some impressive shots, but this is more of a glimmer of talent as oppose to a good consistency throughout. The pacing isn’t bad, but the tension is lacking and I don’t believe the action matches the full time of 90mins (the film runs at 104mins) meaning they’ve missed a trick there.
The production is up to standard with good characterisation with the costumes and especially Dinu and Ford’s makeup. Bautista is a believable badass on his day off just trying to get himself a hotdog; and a shout out to the extras who supported the film and game throughout. James Edward Baker and Tim Despic compose a thriller and suitable score, but, whilst diverse, it’s sadly typical for the genre and isn’t memorable.
Overall it’s a mindless actioner that, if ignoring the poor script and awful accents, is half decent and should be easy entertainment for most. It does what’s expected. Fans of Bautista should swoon.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 6
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0