Published on November 18th, 2021 | by Dan Nicholls0
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Blu ray/DVD Release
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is now available digitally and on DVD and Blu-ray. We take a look at the release and its special features.
Way back in the before times of 2019, “escape rooms” were a thing where you and your buddies solved puzzles to advance from one intricately-designed room to the next. It was a fleeting fad but became popular enough that a movie was made to cash in while the getting was good. Surprisingly, Escape Room was actually a pretty fun movie! And it made some money at the box office too, no small feat for something with a seemingly novelty appeal.
That first movie, solid enough as it was, didn’t exactly scream to have its mythology expanded upon. And yet Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is here to follow the survivors from the previous one on a series of new challenges. More of the same that worked before, but “newer”. Your standard-issue sequel recipe, more or less. As with most sequels, returns are somewhat diminished.
Even if you’ve seen the first movie you’re probably not such a fan that you have everything memorized by heart – fear not! The beginning of Tournament of Champions acts as a very handy “previously on” segment to get everyone on the same playing field. We then catch back up with our hero Zoey (Taylor Russell) and previous game winner Ben (Logan Miller), both traumatized after their near-death experiences from the first round of games. To “put an end to it all” they decide to go to New York City to bring the deadly game makers at the Minos Corporation. Even though Zoey and Ben think they’re out, little do they know they’re being pulled back into the game and a new series of even more over-the-top games from hell are unleashed.
If you’re claustrophobic then I guess these rooms can be terrifying, otherwise it isn’t exactly the thrilling stuff of horror dreams. However, enough thought and detail went into each expertly designed setpiece that the impressiveness of the mechanics makes up for the lack of real threat. Taylor Russell makes for a likeable leading lady too, so all is not entirely lost despite the lack of depth in the screenplay and supporting characters. None of the new characters really stand out in any way and the ending doesn’t exactly leave you wanting more. But for a quick middle-of-the-road suspense thriller with Hollywood production values it’s a pretty streamlined (hallelujah 88 minutes!) and mostly entertaining race to the finish.
Released into a pandemic-sacked summer theater schedule, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions didn’t exactly break out the way its predecessor did. Perhaps attempting to add a new hook to keep it from being overlooked as it hits home, this Blu-ray release features an Extended Cut that has an entirely new beginning and ending that twists the perspective away from Zoey’s journey to more of a mythology-focused tale. This is a case where keeping it tighter and more intimate definitely works better; the Extended Cut is kind of fascinating due to just how different the bookends are but overall its narrative and pacing are off point compared to the OG theatrical version.
All in all, this isn’t exactly a must-own release but it’s certainly got enough going for it to warrant a watch. Fans of the first movie will probably savor every moment of the bonus 15 minutes of extras spread across three featurettes: Game of Champions is a standard-issue studio featurette focused on interviews with the cast about their characters; Upping the Ante spends its time with director Adam Robitel as he goes into the process of specifically crafting a sequel and not just ‘another movie’; Dazzling but Deadly is the best of the bunch as the design and creation of the awesome practical sets are given the spotlight.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is now available digitally and on DVD and Blu-ray. The Extended Cut is available on the Blu-ray alongside the Theatrical Cut and is also available separately on digital.