Director: Adam Robitel
Cast: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, James Frain
Release Date: October 5, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS is the sequel to the box-office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world. In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive…and discovering they’ve all played the game before.
The never-before-seen EXTENDED CUT, available on Blu-ray and Digital, reveals the masterminds behind Minos and features even more deadly escape rooms with over 25 minutes of all-new footage!
Please Note: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ rejoins the first film’s survivors Zoey (Russell) and Ben (Miller) who determined not to let the company behind the deadly game they barely escaped go unpunished head out to track down what little information they have about them. With Zoey unable to get on a plane, the two head out on the road to check out a warehouse that seems to be connected. But when a thief takes off with something important of Zoey’s it results in the two becoming trapped in a subway car with four other random individuals. Before long a new game begins and they discover that the other four people with them just happen to be champions of previous Minos games. Now the six must work together in order to survive the ultimate game of champions they now find themselves unwittingly thrust into.
Directed once again by Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key) from a screenplay by Will Honley (Bloodline) and Maria Melnik (TV’s American Gods) & Daniel Tuch (TV’s Hand of God) and Oren Uziel (The Cloverfield Paradox), from a story by Christine Lavaf and Fritz Böhm, Robitel does a highly capable job at the helm of ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ guiding along the fun and excitement with tension and style. The film’s cast includes a few returning individuals along with many newcomers and the Extended Cut of the film (the two different cuts feature some cast differences) includes Taylor Russell (Words on Bathroom Walls), Logan Miller (We Summon the Darkness), Thomas Cocquerel (Table 19), Holland Roden (TV’s Teen Wolf), Indya Moore (Queen & Slim), James Frain (TV’s Gotham), Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan) and more, with the majority offering capable or at the very least fitting performances for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ delivers plenty of fun, thrills and excitement as well as upping the ante when it comes to the intricate designs of the rooms themselves, while also mixing in a few enjoyable twists and turns along the way. It doesn’t quite hold up to the first film in many ways and some of the storyline definitely feels more like a revamped take on elements of the first as opposed to something notably new and unique. Although at the same time the newly included Extended Cut featured on the Blu-ray and Digital releases improves a fair bit on the theatrical cut and offers a surprisingly different version of the film (you can read some more details about the differences in the next paragraph below). While the sequel may not surpass or even entirely hold up with the original, it’s far from a mess and still manages to provide an altogether enjoyable ride with plenty of tense moments and impressive rooms for our heroes to try and find their way out of. I would definitely urge fans of the first film to try and give the sequel a whirl whenever you can and I would further urge those who caught this one in theaters to seek out the Extended Cut because you’ll be quite surprised with just how different it actually is.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ Blu-ray release is the inclusion of a new Extended Cut of the film (the Theatrical Cut is included as well) which not only features quite a bit of new footage from the film, but also completely changes the overall film in many significant ways. While some characters from the theatrical cut don’t show up in the Extended Cut, there are also some new and interesting characters included in the new edition that weren’t present whatsoever in the Theatrical, namely a behind the scenes man that helps to create the puzzles for Minos and his daughter. While I won’t go into much detail in order to avoid spoilers, the two are in a fair amount of the Extended Cut and also play a key part within. The first ten or fifteen minutes as well as the entire last section of the film are also entirely different from one another making for quite drastically different versions of the film. While some of the decisions to change elements can be understood to one degree or another, I personally found the Extended Cut to be quite superior to the Theatrical version and I would strongly urge fans of the series to check it out whenever possible.
Overall, ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ is a tense, fun and pretty decent sequel that doesn’t quite reach the level of the first but doesn’t really disappoint in comparison either, especially with the inclusion of the new Extended Cut which changes up the film in some massive ways resulting in a drastically different and also somewhat superior version of the movie that fans won’t want to miss out on. ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ is recommended for anyone that enjoyed the first film and it should be worth ninety minutes of your time and the price of a rental to check out. The Extended Cut of the film included on the Blu-ray release is also a real treat in itself that offers a drastically different version of the film loaded with previously unseen footage and the changes within are significant enough to result in an improved version of the film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio on both the Theatrical and Extended Cuts of the film. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and serves up a clean, smooth and richly detailed presentation from start to finish with no problems or unexpected issues to be found along the way. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and fast moving sequences throughout, never resulting in anything onscreen becoming negatively affected or problematic at any point. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on both cuts of the movie. This multichannel soundtrack offers a clean, crisp and quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, action and escape room effects like electricity and acid rain throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, along with bits of dialogue, nature elements and more, while never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a very solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that never disappoints and repeatedly adds some extra tension and excitement to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ includes some brief but enjoyable extras in addition to both the Theatrical and Extended Cut of the film. Included on the release are a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes exploring different aspects of bringing the sequel to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘Dazzling But Deadly’ (running approximately 6 minutes in length), ‘Game of Champions’ (running approximately 5 minutes) and ‘Upping the Ante’ (approximately 4 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 6/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Original Film, Columbia Pictures & Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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