Escape Room: Tournament of Champions appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie boasted a pleasing image – one similar enough to the first film’s that I cut and pasted those comments. I’m lazy!
Overall sharpness worked well. Some wider shots veered a smidgen toward the soft side, but they remained in the minority during this largely accurate presentation.
I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to become an issue.
Like most modern movies, Tournament went a lot of orange and teal, as those tones dominated the presentation. A few reds popped up as well. Predictable as the colors tended to be, the Blu-ray rendered them in an appropriate manner.
Blacks looked dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and concise. I felt happy with this high-quality presentation.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added involvement to the proceedings. The five channels used music in an involving manner, and various effects also broadened the soundscape in a winning way.
While not a film packed with action, Tournament came to life enough to work the speakers well. Various horror elements related to the thrills moved around the room in a convincing pattern to contribute life to the tale.
Audio quality worked well. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, while effects appeared accurate and natural. Louder moments boasted fine punch.
Music was warm and full, with a good level of punch from percussive elements. All of this left us with a satisfactory “B+” soundtrack.
The disc presents both the film’s theatrical (1:28:03) and extended (1:35:45) cuts. According to the Blu-ray’s cover, the latter offers “over 25 minutes of all-new footage including alternate beginning and alternate ending”.
Because the Blu-ray represented my initial screening of Champions, I opted for the extended cut, and that left me unable to discern all the changes between the two. However, a look at the alternate beginning/ending revealed what I suspect becomes the major difference: the reveal of the people behind the games.
To avoid spoilers, I won’t say too much, but the extended edition comes with a prologue that gives backstory for these folks. The alternate ending offers more with them, whereas these characters play zero role in the theatrical version’s finale.
Does one work better than the other? Not really, though I’d probably opt for the theatrical cut because I’m not sure the “gamemaster” stuff truly works.
This material kind of comes out of nowhere and doesn’t mesh especially well with the rest of the tale. It can feel gratuitous and like little more than the sequel bait that it becomes by the ending.
Don’t take that as an indication that the theatrical cut doesn’t open itself up to a conclusion that also pushes toward Escape Room 3, however. Both come with endings that lurch toward another chapter, but because it concentrates on our main characters, the theatrical finale feels more organic.
At least this extended cut offers major changes from the theatrical edition. Many elongated versions make only minor changes, but we get substantial additions for the longer presentation, and that means it becomes worth a look.
Three featurettes appear, and Dazzling But Deadly runs five minutes, 50 seconds. It brings comments from director Adam Robitel, executive producer Philip Waley, production designer Edward Thomas, executive producer Karina Rahardja, special effects supervisor Brandon van der Merwe, stunt coordinator Anneli Muller, and actors Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Carlito Olivero, Indya Moore, Holland Roden and Thomas Cocquerel.
“Deadly” examines sets and escape room designs as well as stunts. We get some decent details, though much of the material just tells us how amazing the work is.
Game of Champions goes for five minutes, 10 seconds and features Robitel, Miller, Russell, Rahardja, Olivero, Roden, and Moore. “Game” discusses cast, characters and performances. It becomes fluffy and superficial.
Finally, Upping the Ante lasts three minutes, 55 seconds and delivers notes from Miller, Thomas, Russell, Robitel, Roden, van der Merwe, Rahardja, Cocquerel and Waley. “Ante” views the escape room challenges as well as Robitel’s impact on the shoot. It offers another praise-packed piece.
Though 2019’s Escape Room turned into a pretty engaging thrill ride, 2021’s sequel feels much less engaging. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions lacks real drama or development, so it becomes semi-monotonous. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with minor bonus materials and two versions of the film. This never turns into a bad movie, but it definitely represents a step down from its predecessor.