Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is a fun but by the numbers sequel

Director Adam Robitel once again collaborates with stars Taylor Russell and Logan Miller for his new film. A sequel to their 2019 hit Escape Room in the new flick Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. After surviving a series of harrowing, deadly escape rooms designed by Minos Escape Rooms Corporation, Zoey (Russell) and Ben (Miller) are determined to bring them to justice for the personally witnessed deaths of those who had not survived through them. 

Unexpectedly, they are trapped, with several other survivors of other escape rooms, on their way to confront Minos in New York City. Fellow escape room champions include Brianna (Indya Moore), Rachel (Holland Roden), Nathan (Thomas Cocquerel), and Derek (Carlito Olivero). They must all work together to get through yet another gauntlet of Minos’ more elaborate and dangerous escape rooms if they are to have any hope of putting a stop to its murderous games once and for all.

The theme of finding enjoyment in an escape-the-room type environment is not new and is generally enjoyable. Even before the original film’s success, the concept was done on film before, most notably in 1997’s Cube. Bragi F. Schut, who wrote the original film, does not return for the sequel. Instead, he passes on script duties to four writers, including Maria Melnik, who co-wrote the first film. So how does the sequel measure up? Read on and find out.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions opens up with a brief recap of the first film before reintroducing our “final girl,” Zoey, who is now in therapy. Zoey has kept in touch with Ben, and she is still determined to take down Minos. Eventually, Zoey and Ben make their way to the Big Apple, and a careless mistake finds the duo on a train. While there, they soon realize a new game has begun, and the other passengers on the train had bested Minos at one point. The champions then began to try to find a way out together.

That is the jest of the plot for Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. The filmmakers keep the run time short and do not necessarily spend a lot of time giving backstories to our new characters. While this bothers some film fans, I did not take too much issue, as a movie called “Escape Room” should primarily focus on the traps and rooms, not the individual characters. The rooms in the film are elaborate, and I commend the writers for coming up with some inventive ways to pick off the competitors one by one. 

I want to remind gore fans that Escape Room: Tournament of Champions carries the rating of PG-13, so the kills are not that violent, if that is what you want. The film’s acting is typical for a movie like this, with your standard character tropes. Taylor Russell and Indya Moore bring the most to their characters, and they were the characters I rooted for the most. To my surprise, there was not an annoying or selfish character in the bunch, which is rare for a film like this.

I also commend the writers for a nice third-act reveal that caught me off guard. The promotion team has done a good job of keeping that little twist a secret, in my opinion. As a solid timewaster, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions gets the job done. However, the film ending leaves it open for a threequel that has me a bit torn. Some suitable nuances allow the conclusion to work from earlier in the film; however, the Escape Room franchise runs the chances of becoming a parody of itself should they try to make too many sequels.

Final Grade: C+

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions opens in theaters tomorrow night, July 15th.

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