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Tournament, The - Alliance Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Chris Mayo   
Monday, 09 November 2009
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Directed by: Scott Mann
Written by: Gary Young, Jonathan Frank, Nick Rowntree
Produced by: Keith Bell, Gina Fegan, Glenn M. Stewart
Cinematography by: Emil Topuzov
Editing by: Robert Hall
Music by: Laura Karpman
Cast: Ving Rhames, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu, Ian Somerhalder, Liam Cunningham
Year: 2009
Country: UK
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 35 min

Studio: The Weinstein Company
Distributor: Alliance Films

It took no less than three writers to pen The Tournament, a film about an underground assassin death match.  However, donít let that little fact deter you from the film.  While it isnít an epic action tour de force, it does deliver a fun popcorn-chompiní good time.

The premise follows an underground gambling ring that occurs at an unknown location in an unknown city every seven years.  This group of degenerate gamblers makes wagers on 30 of the worldís most deadly assassins who band against one another in a battle royal.  The festivities unfold via closed-circuit television which is narrated and hosted by Powers (Liam Cunningham), the tournamentís ringleader and creator.  The rules for the assassins are simple: after a 24-hour period there must be only one-man-standing.  The winner receives $10,000,000 and bragging rights.  If there is more than one assassin remaining after the time limit expires, a chip which was implanted in each participant will explode, causing the survivorís deaths.  In that case nobody wins.  Sound familiar?  Kinji Fukasakuís Battle Royale anyone?

So Joshua Harlow (Ving Rhames) is the past competitionís reigning champion and is back for more in all his ass-kickiní glory.  The Tournament opens with a clip from the previous death match which is a memorable bloodbath showing how Harlow rose to his number one status.  Also in the competition is a female assassin extraordinaire, Lai Lai Zhen (Kelly Hu) who finds herself helping drunken priest Joseph MacAvoy (Robert Carlyle), who is caught in the middle of things after he ingests one of the assassinís explosive tracking implants.  In this rational-reaching scene an assassin cuts out his implant and drops it in MacAvoyís coffee at a diner.  MacAvoy then gulps it down without noticing.  I canít help but think that even in my most inebriated of states, I would be able to muster up the bare bodily functions of touch and taste and be able to notice a horse-tranquilizer-sized, gore-covered electronic projectile in my coffee.  In this scene MacAvoy didnít seem extraordinarily hammered. Who cares about plausibility at this point?  After all, this film is about a contest for the mass murder of assassinsÖ

The Tournament has its ups and downs, but overall itís a well orchestrated action-packed flick filled with everything you could expect, or want in a popcorn action film.  There are plenty of explosions, car chases, gunplay, kicking, punching and an overabundance of the red stuff.  If youíre looking for a decent action film to fill a couple of hours then put your wager on The Tournament.

Alliance Films enters The Tournament on DVD with a stellar looking 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  There are choices for both French and English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.  There are zero supplements included with this release.

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Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Region: NTSC 1
Audio: English, French Dolby Digital 5.1

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