Hollie Horror’s review published on Letterboxd :
The funny thing about my experience with Sudden Death is that I don't like sports, but I have been known to make an exception for hockey, on top of the fact that I also do not like action films, but I have clearly made an exception for Jean-Claude Van Damme.
With my second Peter Hyams film in a row, following Timecop, this guy knows how to make an interesting and exciting action film, even if Sudden Death is a Die Hard-clone, it's the MOST AWESOME Die Hard-clone out there. I enjoyed it so much that at one point I had to reaffirm in my head that I prefer Hard Target (that snake scene, guys..come on.. you can't top that..).
My excitement started early on as I immediately recognized one of the yellow, "lock", bridges of Pittsburgh and exclaimed - "Hey! It's Pittsburgh!" [It helps that I was just there visiting friends in November.] And how lucky for me that they decided to focus in on the Penguins and not the "Stillers" (as they lovingly call the Steelers in The Burgh).
One of my favorite scenes was watching Darren McCord (JCVD) beat the shit out of the Penguins' mascot, Iceburgh, in the kitchen of the Civic Arena, especially when the head comes off and he sees for the first time that it was a woman (before her [AWESOME], brutal dishwasher death). Even though the film is mostly just JCVD disarming bombs and miraculously making the "SAVE OF THE YEAR FOR THE PENGUINS! BIGGEST SAVE EVER!" (LOL@him as the goalie), the fight in the kitchen was beautifully choreographed, the punches and kicks were like a modern form of fight dancing.
As much as I LOVE JCVD, Powers Boothe almost stole the show. He is rivaled only by Lance Henriksen (Hard Target) as far as villains go. "Would you like it if I filled your little mouth with spiders?" He was effectively mean and terrifying! I also loved his interactions with McCord's daughter, especially when she stamped his hand.
"I didn't move, Dad!" - Cue heartfelt tears of JCVD, beautiful, again, no action star can cry like JCVD.
Can we take a minute and reflect on the helicopter scene? Just when I think this movie has completely blown me away, this happens and I am OVER THE MOON! As the helicopter slowly falls vertically and neatly through the top of the Civic Arena, crashes on the ice and then the reflection of the explosion is mirrored in the glasses of McCord's daughter, remarkable, brilliant, MASTERFUL, these words aren't even strong enough to express the amazingness of that scene.
With exciting music, a great villain, a tense scenario and enough bad guys to swarm in every time McCord disarms a bomb--it's easy to see how I would absolutely love Sudden Death.