Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Movie Review & Summary: This Sequel Feels Like a Filler Episode

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Video Source – Sony Pictures Entertainment (Sony Pictures Entertainment YouTube Channel)

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (released in some markets as Escape Room: No Way Out) is a 2021 American psychological horror film directed by Adam Robitel. It is a sequel to 2019’s Escape Room.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Movie Cast

  • Taylor Russell as Zoey Davis
  • Logan Miller as Ben Miller
  • Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda Harper
  • Holland Roden as Rachel Ellis

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Movie Plot

The story continues as Zoey has barely recovered from the trauma caused to her by the events of the first film. Her obsession continues as she keeps trying to solve the mystery behind the Minos Corporation and is determined to bring the crazy puzzle makers to justice. Led by the continuous suspicion of everything around her, Zoey takes Ben along with her to New York to expose the wrongdoings of the Minos Corporation.

To her disappointment, she is unknowingly led to another of Minos’ escape rooms. This time, she and Ben get trapped with four more individuals who have been through another of such escape rooms before. Hence, making it a tournament of champions. Now they must work their way out of these escape rooms. Will Zoey and others survive? Watch yourself to find out. But should you watch it? Let’s see. 

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Movie Review

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Movie Review

Apart from its obvious glaring similarity to the Saw franchise, Escape Room had little to stop the entertainment-hungry individual from scrolling past this title on Netflix’s suggestion carousel. While the first movie in this growing franchise provided some mellowed-down torture-horror, it also left a somewhat decent cliffhanger for enthusiasts to keep waiting for the next instalment (feels like a tall claim but moving on…). Escape Room: Tournament of Champions continues to build onto the pieces of the puzzle left unsolved by the first instalment all the while descending into a clueless world where logic rarely makes an appearance with neck-break speed. 

For the second outing, the escape rooms have become far more futuristic than before. Yes, with electrified subway coaches, laser beam-fitted banks, and human-devouring sand rooms, the production budget has gone up. But that necessarily does not translate into more interesting and intricate puzzles and escape rooms. It definitely looks cool on the screen but in doing so, the boundaries of plausibility are violated almost criminally. 

Logic will be Forgotten at Convenience

The Minos Corporation never had problems with finding enough real estate in the middle of cities to make up space for their elaborate escape rooms. In Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, cutting-edge technology meets prime real estate to make way for some really uninteresting puzzles which at their best work as set pieces to conveniently remove expendable characters. Quite formulaically, puzzles will be solved, people will die, and logic will be forgotten at convenience to keep the soulless story going forward. If the editor had mistakenly deleted everything in the middle and just kept the beginning and the ending, he would not have done any disservice to the writer because that’s how flat the story arc is. Barring the addition of a few more details to the mythos of the Escape Room universe, there’s little done to take the story forward. As the movie moves forward, it leaves open obvious questions unanswered- questions exposing the fallacies in the loose script. 

The performances do not do much to push the movie forward irrespective of the reality that the script hasn’t given the actors much to work with either. Taylor Russell’s straight face when Zoey loses her so-called best friend is one of the many facepalm moments of the movie supported by the “effort-less” acting of the cast. The other characters, apart from the returning ones, are not given any more personality than what they would need to carry the story to its intended conclusion before making an eventless exit. It becomes less surprising that one of the characters cannot feel pain by the blessing of some genetic problem. Find me a more suitable contestant for a supposed sport that focuses on killing its participants in the most painful possible. (Talk about a challenge!) But it’s painful for the viewer if it feels like there are no stakes involved especially in a genre that’s built to capitalize on the high-stake sequences and build-ups.

From POV shots to circular dolly shots, the camera work captures the elaborate set designs in their most detailed glory. The production design is an improvement over the last one with more fascinating escape rooms that significantly involve all the participants in various capacities. There is no doubt that technically the movie is provided with the framework to be an enjoyable experience, but the uninspiring direction and writing cannot be saved by even Zoey who always manages to save more than just herself from the evil rooms of Minos Corporation. 

Much like its predecessor, this one does not depend on torturous deaths or gory details of the mishaps to derive thrill for the audience and make them gasp. Instead, it tries to inspire awe by portraying the characters smartly dissecting the puzzles slowly through a blend of wit and chance. But the pace at which it moves makes it harder to appreciate the complexity of the challenge the characters are presented with. The attempt is made to create the overarching psychological tension felt by the characters who happen to be pawns at the hands of this almost omnipresent devilish entity called Minos. Some brilliant sound design with a tempo that keeps picking pace with the quickly unfolding pieces of the puzzle, adds to the thrill of witnessing a great puzzle being solved. It’s unquestionably disappointing though how quickly the inconsistencies in these miraculous puzzle-solving sequences kill the entire charm of it too. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Some quick deaths, replaceable characters, exciting set pieces, colourful set designs, and unintelligent writing makes Escape Room: Tournament of Champions an Escape Room: Tournament of Champions one on the binge list. It’s mildly entertaining while it lasts but feels like nothing more than a limited extension to the 2019 film. If you haven’t bought into the whole concept yet, the second movie will do little to make you convince. It is a harmless movie that tries to take multiple directions before just abandoning the whole cause and becoming a pointless sequel in an uninspiring franchise.

The great set design is probably one thing you would want to check out and once you get above that, there’s little at stake to keep going. In totality, the story is not so far gone that it cannot be saved by a future instalment. Zoey’s adventures are not over yet. But the hope is that the next one probably makes it more worthwhile for the viewers too along with Zoey who clearly enjoys being nearly killed by collapsing escape rooms.

Author

  • Shreejit is an aspiring writer and a journalism student. He loves philosophizing books and cinema. Coming to movies, horror and tragic romances take the cake for him. Thrillers excite him too but nothing beats a tearjerker tragedy of Shakespearean proportions on a gloomy Monday night.