The Tournament Movie Review

The Tournament Movie Review
There can be only one winner – is it you?
Updated: 10-30-2009
In The Tournament, a shoot’em up game that tests the skills of deadly assassins against one another in real time, it's all about the carnage. Just think: A gorier mash up between Battle Royale, Smokin' Aces, The Running Man, and a SyFy Channel MOW and you've just about got it. The movie starts with a splash as the returning champion killer Hawlow (Ving Rhames) slays the first of his competition in a crimson tide that's wet enough to rival the famous elevator scene in The Shining.
The Tournament hits the ground running from there, truly living up to its "non-stop action" premise (the only other two recently-released movies I can think of to top it in that arena would be the Crank films and the absolutely awesome Shoot'Em Up). Director Scott Mann is smart to keep audiences head-spinningly breathless, because there are unforgivable logic lapses and plot holes big enough to run 10 battering rams through.
Basically, it's a race against time in this the high-stakes contest to see who is the last gun-toter left standing. Each coldblooded killer has a tracking device surgically implanted to track their whereabouts and to coincide with the cameras strategically placed around the playing field so the game can be viewed by the sponsors and bettors all over the world. MC Powers (Liam Cunningham) tries to keep everything together from his ivory tower as the assassins' own personal agenda start to corrupt the game… Turns out Harlow is out for more than a clean kill when it comes to one of his opponents: Lai Lai Zhen (Kelly Hu) murdered his wife and it's payback time.
Meanwhile Zhen has her hands full with a drunken Catholic priest (Robert Carlyle) who accidentally ingested one of the tracking devices and has found himself trapped in the game. On top of that, there are several other contestants who are just plain insane. Ian Somerhalder is particularly good as a completely ruthless and psychotic Texan, as is the devious Frenchman played by Sebastian Foucan.
The Tournament is definitely no great shakes in the plotting and scripting departments (and please… don't cue the cheesy music for the dead-wife flashback scenes!), however, it is exceedingly gory, brutal, violent and over-the-top. It is what it is.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson
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