The Stream: PG-13 rating leaves you wanting
The Big Screen: Intense and very cool scenario set ups
The Final Bill: An intense flick that lacks intrigue– S2S: Movie Review
Director: Adam Robitel
Writers: Will Honley (screenplay by) and, Maria Melnik (screenplay by) & Daniel Tuch, (screenplay by) and Oren Uziel (screenplay by)
Stars: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll
Genre: Horror, Action, Adventure
Runtime: 1 hour 23 minutes
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, Original Film, Shaken Not Stirred
Platform: In theaters July 16, 2021
I mean who doesn’t love a tournament of champions?! Am I right or am I right!?! When the sequel to the 2019 movie named after a social gathering fad came out, you know my antennae perked up. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was released this past weekend and I had to see it. I wished it was on HBO Max or some other streaming service, but I risked the theater world. For those of you who did not see Escape Room, this sequel is about 6 people who unknowingly find themselves locked in an escape room of death once again. The group slowly uncovers what they have in common in order to help themselves survive this deadly game. This time our star Taylor Russell, as Zoey, finds herself joining forces with a few more survivors of the Minos’ Escape Rooms. I know you’re intrigued.
Based on our review of Escape Room – “…. For the horror/thriller/suspense fans… 7… Its an average movie with a knock off of the Saw movies but not gory… You can wait to see this on Netflix… The rooms are ok… Character development was pretty lame and stereotypical character types from all movies like this” – this still rings true. This is almost exactly right again except I may know why this time. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is rated PG-13 and it truly shows. Obviously, they are pandering to the teen crowd that wants to get to the movies without their parents. The series is missing out on a solid bit of umph without the freedom of an R rating. I’m not saying movies need to be gory, horribly violent or tons of cursing, but I feel like The Conjuring series has found a way to be scary and classy at an R-rating. In fact, I’m surprised The Conjuring series has the R designation because Escape Room makes The Conjuring look like The Exorcist. In fact, The Fear Street trilogy just released on Netflix found a way to be rated R but still teen appropriate (well part 1- 1994 got a little gross but the others for sure). Anyway, the movie was intense but lacked a seriousness or shock factor. I’ll put it like this – acid on the skin should look like you got a little hot grease pock on you. We all drop something in hot oil too fast and got one of those pocks and that’s not horror.
Nevertheless, I digress. Tournament of Champions furthers the story that Escape Room left off on. Literally, the movie legit did a recap for you. If you were even thinking about it, you really don’t even need to see the first movie to see this flick, which is kind of helpful. In that way, it doesn’t make any sense because now a viewer doesn’t even feel the need to see what they may have missed in the first part. Beyond that, the story is a bit too obvious in this one, but I will say the twist was nicely displayed, even though you may have caught on. Even though this movie feels basic, I’m still strangely ready to see Escape Room 3: Revenge of the Architect (I made that up but I like it). The movie lacks character development for the full group and that’s even harder to say after the first movie. We really have no clue about these fools other than Ben and Zoey. But I really do care if Zoey and Ben survive, or not. Unfortunately, while we don’t know who will return, we do know Zoey isn’t dying and that’s slightly a bummer because I want to feel like there’s some fear she might not survive. The first movie had that but this sequel lacked that completely. While the rooms this time were different and slightly interesting, the whole thing felt rushed. Viewers are sped through the strife and maybe that along with the PG-13 rating really holds back the movie building any terror. Ah well.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is a walk in Central Park at 10pm during the summer. It used to be scary back in the day, but it’s a bit safer now but still keep your head on a swivel just in case. The movie is perfect for a Saturday afternoon FX flick or a streaming service. If you’re looking for an anxiety-inducing, blood pressure raising flick that lacks depth, this is the movie for you. Put it on in the background and jump in and out during the games, watch this. If you’re thinking should I go to the theater… do not spend more than matinee money if you’re desperate for entertainment. Best suggestion is to wait because this will be on a streaming service in short order for free.