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Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions (Blu-ray Review)

I’m probably not at all alone in this, but I was quite surprised by Escape Room a few years back. A film based on a real life recreation that feels like the film series Saw had inspired was an odd sort of “coming full circle” bit of parody. However, the movie itself provided a lot of B-movie type fun and was an enjoyable fare. So when Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was announced, I said “Bring it on”. Especially with that ridiculous title AND that the trailer featured an equally silly title drop line in it. This next chapter in the series will be coming to Blu-ray on October 5th and features two cuts of the film. There will be a nice little array of bonus features to plop on to the disc as well. If you see yourself a champion of tournaments, and escaping rooms enthusiast, perhaps you’ll pre-order a copy of the film from the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of this review. Its not too hard to escape once you click.

Film

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is the sequel to the box-office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world. In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive…and discovering they’ve all played the game before.

This follow up film delivers more of the goods and pushes the boundaries a little more from the original. And I mean that in a sincere form of complimenting it. There’s a lot of fun and frantic mystery to be found with the film and its set of characters. In the very best way a slasher can do, it gives you a fine set of people with a groovy set of problems akin to the last film but with a bit more confidence and desire to take it to another place. Basically, if you enjoyed the first movie, you’ll enjoy this one. Its rather simple.

However, I’m more interested in “how” you’ll enjoy it. Most interesting to me about this whole thing is the “Extended Cut” of the film offered on this Blu-ray release. Calling it “extended” is really calling it a disservice as a selling point. Maybe “Alternate Cut” would have been more appropriate. People who enjoyed the theatrical release might not be inclined to check it out again or people watching the extended for their first time view aren’t going to realize that you’re almost getting 2 very different films with these.

The two versions of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is the in the Halloween 6 Producer’s Cut territory in terms of different cuts of films. Almost the entire first act leading up to getting trapped on the subway car is a completely different movie. And then heading right into the 3rd act from the city street escape room onward is completely different film to the end. There are a few inserts different here and there as well. Its quite stunning. There’s an entire set of characters and a plotline in this movie. Actor James Frain is in it, and another actor that cameos late in the film is not. And every clue in the movie and the finale leads to something completely different than offered in the theatrical cut. On the other side, there are characters and subplots from the theatrical that are not even in or hinted at in this version too. Its quite stunning.

Much of the middle section with the traps is pretty much the same film, but its odd how it all builds from and works toward something vastly different in the end. While I liked Escape Room: Tournament of Champions fine enough, it having these wildly different versions of the film now makes it a much more fascinating film to me. People interested in different versions of films or editing or just Escape Room stans should really seek this out and take it in. Its almost like this disc’s marketing is keeping this a secret and not really revealing HOW MUCH this other version is offering.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions comes with a rock solid, pretty terrific for stand Blu-ray, transfer. Its a sharp, crisp image and features nice touches of color and some popping digital effects that mix well with the live action. There’s a nice vivid quality to the image in both darker and more brighter scenes. All sorts of good texture and detailed information come through neatly and clearly in every frame.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty strong here. Many of the rooms on display feel a bit 3 dimensional and spacious. Movements are smooth and natural, no issues with motion distortions abound.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and hold a solid overall darkness for a digital shot movie. There is very good work with shadow and nighttime and the contrast really helps to bring out the color. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite bold and striking when they need to be. The beach setting contrasts well between its sunlight daytime burst and its gloomy, glowing nighttime finish. Colors feature good saturation and neon lights and intentional bright things (like fire) have some good bpop.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Texture and detailed information is quite clear and discernible from any reasonable distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Descriptive Service, Hungarian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish VO 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish

Dynamics: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions features a kicking and rather outstanding 5.1 track. This thing puts you right in the mix and feel of the character. Its quite dynamic, with loud effects on a balanced, layered mix. Your channels get full use here and the audio has some rather nice depth to it. It is quite an impressive display.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer has a nice rumble, especially with sinking sand, crashing, smashing, exploding and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: Right from the first room (Subway car), the speakers show you all they got. Electricity pulsates all over through every channel. This thing is wild and whips all over at different volumes to various degrees of effect. They’ll do stuff again with lasers and acid rain. Its a fun bounce and well done wall to enrapture the viewer into the movie.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are crisp and always clearly audible no matter the level of intensity in the film.

Extras

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions comes with a redeemable digital code of the film.

Extended Version (HD, 1:35:45)

Dazzling But Deadly (HD, 5:50) – This featurette features the cast and crew going over the rooms and sets of the film.

Game of Champions (HD, 5:10) – Cast and crew go over the general details of the characters in the film, both returning and new.

Upping the Ante (HD, 3:55) – In this one, everybody talks about what made the first one good and where the challenges lie in topping it.

Summary

If you were a fan of the first Escape Room film, I’d be hard pressed to find you disappointed in the up to par sequel, Tournament of Champions. Sony drops it on Blu-ray with 2 cuts of the film and some fluffy, light, EPK-heavy extras. The presentation of the film is terrific and has a banging 5.1 track that will have you feeling trapped yourself. Definitely a pickup for the inevitable price drop down the road. Here’s hoping a 3rd one will happen!

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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