Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Every seven years, somewhere on the planet earth, there’s a competition in which thirty of the worlds top assassins take place in a kill or be killed free-for-all with the winner taking home a boatload of cash. Seems a bit silly because I certainly wouldn’t enter such a wacky ass contest but then I’m not a professional assassin. Wink-wink. As this film ‘The Tournament’ begins we are witnessing the final stages of the previous tournament with two killers left standing, one of these being all around badass Joshua Harlow (Ving Rhames). Not to spoil it for but Joshua is now a rich man but it is the journey to those riches that’s the cool part not the final result.

Seven years later its tournament time again where a bunch of rich dudes have gathered somewhere in England, wired to every single camera in the city, to lay wagers and watch the carnage take place under the watchful eye or their ringmaster Mr. Powers (Liam Cunningham). The stakes are the same as our killers will use whatever and whomever at their disposal in their efforts to take home the big prize, collateral damage be damned. There are thirty killers in the tourney but only a few we need to be concerned about such as Chinese Mistress of Death Lai Lai Zhen (Kelly Hu) who tries her best only take out those who deserve killing. The same can’t be said for crazed American Miles Slater (Ian Sommerhalder) who kills simply for the love of it all. Then there’s Joshua Harlow who has made an appearance in the tournament once again and is the odds on favorite to win it all. Joshua has shown up this year, not because he’s particularly fond of killing, but because this time it’s personal. Apparently someone busted up in Joshua’s crib while he was out carrying out a job and instead of taking him out they took out his pregnant wife. Damn. The only thing Joshua knows for sure is that the killer is one of his colleagues in this tournament and come hell or high water he’s going to find out who took out his woman.

This time however Mr. Powers has added in a little twist to the festivities. Apparently having seen the movie ‘Battle Royale’ Mr. Powers thought it would be cool to put a 24-hour clock on our participants and embed an explosive in them that will detonate if more than one of them are alive after the time expires. Sweet.

The only hiccup to that plan occurs when parkour assassin Anton Bogart (Sebastian Fourcan) finds having small electronic tracking devices embedded in his body uncomfy and self-surgically removes his with it somehow ending up into the body a drunk priest named Macavoy (Robert Carlyle). Never missing a beat Mr. Powers simply makes the priest part of the game with sky high odds on his survival, that is if the ever lovely Lai Lai didn’t take pity on him since she doesn’t like to see the slaughter of innocents.

So which one of these assassins killed Joshua’s lady and why? Will Joshua even survive to find out, and what does it look like when one of these little explosive devices go kablooey? All those questions and more will be answered in this edition of ‘The Tournament’.

Directed by Scott Mann ‘The Tournament’ is a real simple movie to get a gaze on. If you like mindless action, crazy explosions, insane violence that moves at a breakneck pace then I can really see no reason that you wouldn’t like this movie. I like that stuff so I liked this movie. Does it make a lick of reasonable logical sense? Of course it doesn’t and considering the concept it shouldn’t. Take Kelly Hu who is one of the hottest women in the history of God’s Planet Earth, but who knew that being hot served as a force field against being punched in the face over and over and over again by men as large as Ving Rhames and as supremely skilled as Scott Adkins, all while barely messing up my girl’s makeup. That’s when you know you’re hot when you can take a straight left to grill and not smudge your mascara. And don’t get us started on how awesome Sebastian Fourcan is with the parkour stuff. It was sweet in Casino Royale and it is sweeter still here. I can’t take credit for this but someone pointed out that if they make a Black Panther movie T’Challa has been found. Accent already built in. Sure it’s a French accent but who’ll know the difference?

Folks stroll away for tanker explosions, folks get set on fire by getting spit on and strippers get brutally shot up all in the name of competition. If this movie were made twenty years ago in the 1980’s it would be number one at the box office for five weeks in a row, but alas it was made in the age of the gay pirate so this explosive action filled tome of complete and total nonsense has been dumped to Straight to DVD. We don’t care because we love Straight to DVD here at the FCU, and if I haven’t told you already I’m telling you again, I got me a Straight to DVD TV show and you can bet your last bottom dollar that ‘The Tournament’ will be on it.

Is it art? Well that really depends on your definition of art and this probably falls slightly outside my own wide definition but it is entertaining. Sure it would’ve helped if it made sense but there’s not enough brain power in the world to help this movie make sense, and that’s just the way we like it.

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