“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” is a straightforward sequel, which means no background is necessary to enjoy this second installment of Adam Robitel‘s 2019 film “Escape Room.” If you understand the general principle of an escape room, you can pick up the story thanks to the intro of the film doing a t.v.-style recap of all that happened in the first movie. There’s isn’t a ton of plot to follow, but the puzzles are all entertaining and creative. From acid rain to an electrified subway car, the stakes are high for the champions.
Six people (Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Holland Roden, Indya Moore, Thomas Cocquerel, and Carlito Olivero) find themselves locked together in a series of complex escape rooms and must decipher clues if they want to survive. It’s revealed that all of them are former contestants who have played and won the game before. Now they’re being brought back for the sick pleasure of a mysterious ringleader, but nobody knows the person’s identity. The plot doesn’t matter as much as the clues in the escape rooms, which is the most entertaining thing about the movie. If you like solving puzzles and mysteries, you’ll have more fun than most when watching this one.
The majority of the dialogue consists of characters literally describing what they are doing as they are doing it (“I’m going to go climb that ladder!” “I’m opening an umbrella.”). It’s so bad, you could watch the movie with no picture and only sound, and you’d still know everything that was happening onscreen. I take it this isn’t a film for rocket scientists.
The premise is a goldmine for low-budget, PG-13 rated “horror.” In fact, the twist ending sets up another sequel, which I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing if the studio decided to make it. The film is appropriate for its rating, with just enough thrills and edginess to pacify preteens.
“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” is, strictly speaking, disposable entertainment that’s functioning right on the cusp of its highest level. The cast is filled with people you’ve never heard of, and their performances are nothing more than passable. Robitel’s direction is simple but competent, which is all that’s needed. Do you really care if the cast and crew is turning in Oscar-worthy work, or do you just want to see somebody get sucked alive into a pit of quicksand?