Thursday, July 8, 2021

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Review: Impossible, Spectacular Puzzles

Taylor Russell	...	Zoey Davis Logan Miller	Logan Miller	...	Ben Miller Thomas Cocquerel	Thomas Cocquerel	...	Nathan Holland Roden	Holland Roden	...	Rachel Indya Moore	Indya Moore	...	Brianna Carlito Olivero	Carlito Olivero		 Jay Erving	Jay Erving

Release date: July 16, 2021
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed By: 
Adam Robitel
Written By: Fritz Böhm (story by), Will Honley (screenplay by), Christine Lavaf (story by)
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Thomas Cocquerel, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel, Indya Moore

Six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive. Joining forces with two of the original survivors, they soon discover they've all played the game before.

Jaymes Butler	...	Police detective Scott Coker	Scott Coker	...	Special Agent Freddie Will James Frain	James Frain		 Amali Golden	Amali Golden	...	Brunette Renee Harbek	Renee Harbek	...	Priscilla Evan Hengst	Evan Hengst	...	Technician Anton David Jeftha	Anton David Jeftha	...	Orrie Corin Silva	Corin Silva	...	Ensler Derek Siow	Derek Siow	...	Paramedic Jarrod Tanya van Graan	Tanya van Graan	...	Sonya
Following the events of the first Escape Room movie, Zoey (Russell) and Ben (Miller) are drawn to New York to try and flush out the Minas organization that caused their terrible first room.  However, they find themselves stuck on a subway car with four other people, who all have one thing in common: they have survived a previous Escape Room game.  Now they must relive this terrible experience to try and escape this new challenge.  Escape Room Tournament of Champions takes the previous winners angle from Hunger Games and does it with great effect.  Although it is sad to see these individuals thrust back into this horrible encounter, it does lend itself to some quick action at the start.  No one has to be briefed on what to do and everyone can start moving quickly.  And I liked the group that they put together, with returning members from the first movie and four new members each with their own quirks.  And some of the backstory that they added was nice, giving you an idea of the themes that these players came from.  But I do wish that more had been exposed about their past games, as I would have liked to hear about the cruel puzzles that were dreamt up for those specific themes.

But the main draw of Escape Room Tournament of Champions is the imaginative challenge rooms.  These are elaborate encounters with many different clues and distractions, all with an ever present timer counting down until something horrible happens.  The timer and consequences were a nice touch as it made each encounter nail biting; the team was always pressured and inevitably the room would be solved right at the last second (with maybe not everyone making it).  And these rooms are imaginative, with some very different aesthetics to each challenge, making for some nice variety.  And the encounters are filled with elaborate effects to bring the deadly game to life.  I was impressed by the level of CG and although it was extensive, it was not distracting like it might have been.  I was never drawn out of the film due to the effects  and all in all, the experience was a tense, varied one.

However, as with all escape room type scenarios, the solution is always so very specific.  It is fun to see them work it out but it also left me frustrated at just how convenient each clue was and how the team walked to a solution.  And although I really did like the journey, the ending of the film left something to be desired.  It felt like the movie tried to go for a crazy ending that tied together obscure hints, leaving an unnecessarily complex ending scenario that just felt unfulfilling.  But overall, if you want a fun, tense thriller that will keep you entertained this summer, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is an enjoyable escape from the summer heat.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions has some complex, varied, and deadly challenges that are complemented by a great cast and some over the top special effects!

Rent it.

Neal H. Moritz	...	producer (p.g.a.) Karina Rahardja	...	executive producer Simon Rhodes	...	line producer Adam Robitel	...	executive producer Philip Waley	...	executive producer
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Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is in theaters on July 16, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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