Sunday, 18 July 2021

Escape Room - Tournament Of Champions

Room With A Boo

Escape Room -
Tournament Of Champions
aka Escape Room 2

USA  2021 Directed by Adam Robitel
UK cinema release print.

Warning: Spoilers as to the survivors of the first movie etc and a couple for this one too.

Escape Room - Tournament Of Champions
is the sequel to the same director’s earlier film, Escape Room (reviewed here) which I didn’t know was so well liked. I think I gave it an okay review, if memory serves but I hadn’t realised that the first one was shot for 9 million dollars and made over 150 million back. So of course they were going to make a sequel.

After a brief recap at the start, this film sees the return of the two survivors of the previous movie, Zoe, played by Taylor Russell and Ben, played by Logan Miller. It’s made clear in a couple of ways that the two are still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and it begins properly with Zoe talking to her psychiatrist. And, I have to say, this is the one scene in the movie which is a bit of a disappointment because something happens here which, unless you’re asleep, pretty much tips off a big element of the end twist of the movie. I was waiting for a certain reveal to drop and... oh yeah, it certainly did. But that’s the only really bad thing about the movie and, as for the rest of it, it makes for a really solid, suspense filled thriller, just like the first one.

One thing it doesn’t do, though, is make good on the ‘aeroplane’ ending of the first film, where Zoe and Ben are going to track down the MINOS company and try to reveal them to the world. Instead, it’s revealed that they tried but Zoe has a fear of flying and so, after a while into this one, they drive to New York and, by a bizarre, wafer thin thread of coincidences, suddenly find themselves on an underground train which is uncoupled, diverted and then becomes the new Escape Room starting area. It turns out their fellow passengers in that carriage are all previous survivors of MINOS Escape Rooms and they are now all in this together, playing to survive.

And, the formula is pretty much the same as the first film from hereon in... with some bigger sets with different themes to the rooms this time... such as a bank or a beach with a lighthouse. Zoe, being the brightest spark there, also finds an alternative route out of one of the rooms but her escape is short lived as she and her fellow escapee manage to get pulled back into the next room by a really obvious ploy... but, still, it makes for a fun film and the suspense and tension in the movie makes for some real ‘edge of the seat’ stuff. Which is good because, like the first one, the various kills in this are pretty much bloodless and although it’s implied some nasty stuff happens... and there’s the odd long shot where you can’t see any real details to a couple of deaths... the film swerves away from getting into any gory details (which it could have easily have done if it was going for a higher rating).

There’s also what amounts to a nice extended cameo (which could well stretch into further films) by another actor returning from the first movie... but nothing more on that from me here, don’t want to spoil that one for you. And one of the nice things about the movie is that, again a little bit of a spoiler, it’s got more or less the same ending as the previous movie on this one but, this time, the writers have given themselves no way out for a possible sequel starter... all I’m saying is, the next one will definitely have to start (or more accurately continue) on an aeroplane.

At one point I thought I spotted a mistake in the film but, given the way this one ends, it may have been a deliberate thing. On a news broadcast, it’s stated that four bodies had been found in the warehouse where the events of this movie are alleged to have taken place (bloody huge, high tech warehouse if that’s the case). However, in a certain scene during in the movie, surely two of the bodies were melted... so how could they have been found? So, yeah, not sure but maybe the explanation for that will turn up in the next one.

Other than that... not much more to say on this one other than it was a solid sequel and I had a way more fun and harrowing time than I would normally from a film that’s rated PG13 in the US (and 15 over here, although how the BBFC can justify such a steep rating on this one is anyone's guess... there’s no blood or gore people!). Especially since, again like the first one, the teenagers in the movie are actually likeable people and you are rooting for them, rather then wishing they’d hurry up and die (like a lot of teen targeted movies these days). If you liked the first movie then Escape Room - Tournament Of Champions really shouldn’t disappoint you too much and you’ll probably like the sequel just as much. I do now find myself hoping for a third installment of this franchise at some point soon so, yeah, I hope this one does really well at the box office too.

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