Anyone who remembers Sudden Death (1995) has seen this movie before, and anyone who has seen Sudden Death had seen it before with Die Hard (1988). It is of course a new Die Hard Clone, this time it’s action man Dave Bautista’s turn to deal with terrorists in a locked down venue. This one is a VOD effort, albeit a somewhat weighty one with a $20 million budget and some decent names to go along with Bautista (Pierce Brosnan, Ray Stevenson — who doesn’t love those two?).
Dave Bautista plays Michael Knox, an ex special forces soldier (what else?) taking his niece, Danni (Lara Peake), to a football match, with West Ham Utd playing. However, things soon go awry when Russian lunatic Arkady (Ray Stevenson) hijacks the stadium and locks it down, in an effort to find his treacherous brother Dimitri (Pierce Brosnan), who is hiding in exile, but can be found attending football matches. Years ago, y’see, Dimitri screwed over his brother in their war against Vladimir Putin, so he must be apprehended. However the one man army, Knox, is going to get in the way.
If you’re reading this far chances are you’re wondering why the hell anyone would go to the bother of hijacking and terrorizing a stadium jammed with 35,000 people just to get your hands on one man. Nope, didn’t make sense to me either. Maybe we’re not supposed to read into such things too much in an action movie like this, but this movie insists on trying to do the ‘story’ thing and runs for 104 minutes, so we can’t help but probe the silliness, there’s little else to do — the uncle/niece dynamic (trope) is pretty lamentable. To me, it just felt like an excuse to package a movie around some evil Russians getting down to some timely, questionable shit. I was half expecting a Novichok vacutainer to fly through the air in slow motion. I bet no other sites are going to ask this, but, why such a delay in releasing this movie if it was filmed in 2016? Hmm…
Anyway, the real frustration for this otherwise unremarkable movie — shaking cameras. I really don’t understand how anyone not living under a rock this side of 2008 can think this is a good idea. I mean take the fight scene between Martin Ford — that’s the giant Boyka fought in the last Undisputed movie and Dave Bautista. It’s the same as the Van Damme vs. Penguin deal in Sudden Death, right down to utensils in the kitchen being used as weapons. This should be a good fight on paper, but while it’s not the most egregious use of shaking cameras ever, it’s jarring, annoying.
Brosnan is barely in the movie by the way, which is why I don’t mention him.
There are a few things to take out of the movie though. Another good performance from Dave Bautista, some severe violence and a cracking turn from Ray Stevenson as the killer Russian, who chews up the scenery, slaps people around and nails his accent.
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