The Tournament (2009)
Directed by Scott Mann
I hyped up this movie a year ago and when the trailer came out, I hyped it up some more. So when I won this film shockingly from Fangoria I couldn't believe my luck. I dig a good horror movie, but over the top action flicks are where I get my kicks from.
The movie has a clever premise (see below) and had an all star cast and the trailer had shit blowing up, could it live up to the hype?
Fuck yeah it did.
The assassins just don't kill each other, they fuck each other up beyond recognition. In this new age of action flicks (as Rambo illustrated beautifully) it's not just capping yr ass, it's obliterating the enemy. The Tournament is an apex in action porn, where guns are blazing, body counts are mounting and parkour and martial arts are needed to win and be called the greatest assassin ever.
Every 7 years in an unsuspecting town (this time its some town in the UK), The Tournament takes place. A battle royale between 30 of the world’s deadliest assassins. The last man standing receiving the $10,000,000 cash prize and the title of Worlds No 1 (which itself carries the legendary million dollar a bullet price tag). The Tournament is set up by a group of sick high stake billionaires who watch the mayhem unfold via CCTV and bet on its outcome.
I love how I don't have to talk about plot at all in this flick.
Let's look at our players shall we? Here are the notables. Place your bets on who you think will win!
- Joshua Harlow (Ving Rhames): Reigning champion he's as bad as Marsellus Wallace and cold blooded as they come. His wife's been killed and he's looking for revenge.
- Lai Lai Zheng (Kelly Hu): Lethal assassin from Asia. She doesn't kill the innocents but has her own motivations to win the tourney.
- Miles Slade (Ian Somerhalder): Ruthless Texan who is as fucked up as they come. He'll kill women, children and a dog and his shotgun is his weapon of choice
- Anton Bogart (Sebastien Foucan): Frenchmen whose got awesome Parkour skills (Foucan invented the damn thing) and he can double gun shoot with the best of em.
- Yuri Petrov (Scott Adkins): Demolition expert and all around badass.
- Father Joseph MacAvoy (Robert Carlyle): Father Joe gets pulled into the tourney after swallowing a tracking device designed for the assassins. Also he's a drunk and not a very good priest.
- 25 other assassins that die in an awesome montage
The other scenes are pure unfortunate timing kills that are set up cleverly. Hu's Zheng is pure, stereotypical kung fu treachery as she anihilates the other opponents. Foucan's Bogart is a joy to watch as in one scene he parkours after Zheng whose driving a police car with Father Joe in tow. But probably the bloodiest and sickest of all the scenes is when half a dozen or so of the assassins converge at a titty bar and all hell breaks loose.
The surprise here is Somerhalder's Slade who is utterly evil. He didn't just kill the other assassins but murders a bunch of innocent bystanders and some lovely well figured strippers. Look at what the Island did to him! A pure gun battle that was an outright orgy of unrelenting violence. Sliced arms, fingers and decaps. All over the top, slightly cartoony and Grand Theft auto bloody. If you don't like the video game violence, go play some Wii.
With the assassins all having 24 hours to kill each other before their tracking devices turn them into human grenades, we see some good matchups of our notables. Zheng vs Bogart, Zheng vs Petrov, Zheng vs Slade and Zheng vs Harlow. Inserted is also a montage of assassin on assassin violence so we can get the count to 2.
As this all happens, Powers is the man who orchestrates this tournament so a group of diverse rich guys can bet on the action. Some subplot is thrown in with something about Powers and Harlow but it really isn't important.
What you should know is this. The Tournament is zany, double barrel funness with never ending action. Sure there's some conversations, but that's like set up to get to the action scenes. In its 90 minutes, it lives up to its premise of what would happen when 30 assassins destroy a small little town. If you've played Call of Duty, MWF2 or Grand Theft Auto multi player you know what to expect. I've never seen a movie where video game violence is excellently captured in a film.
Well now I have.
I placed my bets on Zheng because I actually met Kelly Hu at a Chiller convention in Jersey. She was really nice and signed my cover of Maxim. Plus she was super hot. Did I win? Her odds were 25:1. Harlow's was 2:1. What do you think?
Shotgun blast carnage
Bullet wound carnage
All sorts of assassin on assassin violence
Is this the flick we see Kelly Hu naked? Nope sorry, these aren't the boobs your looking for.
Miles Slade's last stand
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
I thoroughly enjoyed The Tournament. It's a movie where you don't have to think, you gasp in awe of the awesome carnage and you commend a movie that takes a clever premise and takes it to the extreme. It's action porn at its finest. I am so happy to see a film that went no holds barred and jacked it up. My only gripes were the Father Joe storyline (where he's an innocent caught up in the chaos), Rhames being Rhames and the ending. It's a little convoluted at times where they could have cut out some of this waste.
But all in all, a solid flick and you won't be disappointed. Here's hoping we don't have to wait 7 years for another Tournament to take place.
Check out the trailer below.