The first Escape Room film, which I watched in 2019, was one of the most enjoyable films I had seen. There are films that, although not watched with high expectations, manage to leave a lasting impression. Escape Room is one of those films. It embarked on its journey with a concept that can be described as a mix of Cube and Saw, offering a highly successful action-packed thriller that promised suspense at every turn. It seems that hundreds of thousands of people loved the film as much as I did. The inevitable consequence of such underdog successes is the arrival of a sequel. When a film that cost $9 million to make earns $150 million at the box office, the arrival of a second installment is almost certain. However, the unfortunate truth is that the second film, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, often falls short of the original.
In brief, let’s touch on the plot… Zoey and Ben start to investigate the people behind the Escape Room at Zoey’s insistence. However, as ordinary citizens, they can’t compete with a massive corporation. While they are looking for the company, the company finds them. The kidnapped duo finds themselves in a new game, but this time, they are with those who have previously played this deadly game. All the champions find themselves in a much more dangerous game than the previous one, and, of course, they must work together to survive.
The first film derived its success from its relentless tension and unceasing action. People who volunteered to participate in the game to make money found themselves trapped in a deadly game. They had to cooperate to find the exit in each of the intriguing rooms.
The second film, while following in the footsteps of the first, unfortunately falls short in some aspects. Actually, it doesn’t fall short; it overdoes it. This time, we get to know the architects of the rooms, but, unfortunately, the story of their introduction is not, at least for me, compelling. I would have preferred to encounter an uber-rich secret corporation instead of a cheap family dispute behind these cleverly designed rooms. Witnessing a father-daughter dispute behind rooms so ingeniously designed diminished the gravity of the situation.
The second film significantly surpasses the first in-room design. The rooms are much crazier and more surreal. They’ve also elevated the puzzle difficulty level from Medium to Ultra Hard. This created a problem for me: the puzzles are too complex. The beauty of the first film was that, no matter how creative the rooms were, the solutions were simple. In the second film, it’s almost impossible for the audience to follow the solutions. Therefore, we can’t participate in the contestants’ tension; we can only watch. The overly complicated puzzles, unfortunately, also detract from the realism.
It seems that Escape Room will continue with its third film. The eccentric creator of these puzzles will continue to spawn new puzzles from his twisted thoughts. While the idea of a mad architect sounds fascinating, inventing this idea with a shoddy family feud damages the story aspect of the film. The first film had no story; it was all about the action. This time, they added a story, but, unfortunately, the foundation wasn’t set right, and the realism wasn’t well-established.
In conclusion… Adam Robitel, who directed both films, delivered a satisfactory and enjoyable performance as a director. However, the screenwriters went too far this time and hampered the universe they had beautifully initiated. Is it a bad film? No, it’s not. But unfortunately, it’s not as impressive as the first one. It’s a film that struggles to establish connections between characters, exaggerates the puzzles, and, regrettably, delivers a mediocre ending. With the right choice of a villain, the film could have been entirely transformed, but the screenwriters turned the story into a cheap family feud, which undermined the film’s seriousness.
Cast & Crew
director: Adam Robitel
writers: Oren Uziel, Fritz Böhm, Will Honley, Maria Melnik, Christine Lavaf, Daniel Tuch
starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Indya Moore, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel, Carlito Olivero, James Frain, Isabelle Fuhrman, Deborah Ann Woll
USA | 2021 | 88 MINUTES |