Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (M) - 88 minutes
Trapped with death awaiting them unless they find a way out.
That is the premise of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and what is in front of six souls who have played this game before.
Now they are thrust back into the same environment against their will.
A couple – Zoey Davis (Taylor Russell) and Ben Miller (Logan Miller) – are familiar to us from Escape Room, which was released in 2019. The rest are newbies to the franchise.
They include a man concerned about being late for his wife’s birthday, a priest who has taken to the bottle, a social media influencer and a woman unable to feel physical pain.
After a trailer of sorts to start proceedings, pointing to the first instalment, we see Davis is in therapy trying to deal with the nightmare that she encountered at the hands of Minos Corporation (who created the “game”).
Determined to travel to New York to get to the bottom of the nefarious actions of that shadowy organisation, she fears flying there.
Instead, she takes a road trip with the man she saved, her best friend Miller.
When they arrive, all they see at the location they pinpointed is a derelict warehouse and a junkie.
Their interaction with him effectively sets up the bulk of the film.
Davis and Miller find themselves trapped with four strangers in the carriage of an uncoupled fast-moving train.
It is soon clear that Minos Corporation has roped them in to more perilous challenges.
They will face electrocution, implosions, lasers, rising water, quicksand, acid rain and more.
Not all will survive … as the “game” constantly shifts.
You do not need to have seen the original to appreciate the sequel, which is far-fetched but tense throughout.
How they figure out the often-obtuse clues so quickly is where the suspension of belief comes in, let alone the situations created for them to navigate.
Nevertheless, I thought Taylor Russell’s delivery of “unease” made the whole thing that much more plausible (in context of course).
The others all play their parts, without any real standouts for me.
Script writers Will Honley, Maria Melnik (the only one retained from the initial offering), Daniel Tuch and Oren Uziel ensued the action is constant and unrelenting.
There are surprises, as a movie of this genre demands.
Of course, we are constantly left asking how any of the “players” could possibly survive such an ordeal.
Further, just when we consider it may be over, it isn’t, setting up another sequel if box office success demands it.
Director Adam Robitel, who also helmed the original, has a good grasp on tension.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is a film that knows its audience – younger adrenaline junkies – and plays to it.
It is no world beater, but a reliable, adventure-based offering, which delivered exactly what I expected it would.
Rated M, it scores a 6 out of 10.