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63
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Tournament [DVD]
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The Tournament is one of those action films you've never heard of but is actually superior to the PG-13 trash that passes for Hollywood action these days (I'm looking at YOU, Die Hard 4). It barely got into cinemas for a week in October 2010 and you shouldn't let it slip away.

Robert Carlyle plays a washed-up priest who is caught up in a once-every-seven-years competition in which 30 of the world's best hitmen are pitted against each other in an unsuspecting, random town. The location this time is Middlesborough, England and the 24-hour bloodbath paints the town red before the climactic last-man-standing finale. Among the many hitmen are the gorgeous Kelly Hu and the burly Ving Rhames. There's not much time for character development, but the main trio work well off each other in between the brutal action scenes.

The Tournament does use some CGI blood effects in a few shots, not as awful as it usually is, but most of the gore is good, old-fashioned make-up. And when I said they paint the town red I really do mean it. The film is wonderfully gory in a way we just don't see in action movies anymore. Plus the stunts are all done for real in front of the camera, which makes it all the more visceral and visually appealing.

Don't write-off the Tournament. It delivers everything it promises. It doesn't rewrite the rules or set any new, genre-defining standard, but it's still better than modern, family-friendly 'action'.

The Blu Ray looks good in 1.78:1 1080p with DTS HD-MA sound. There are no extras.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2012
The Tournament takes a popular formula - contestants forced to fight to the death in a game-show and adds a British feel to it. Thirty assassins agree to take part in a deadly competition and the last man or woman standing is the winner, earning whichever rich businessman bet on them a considerable amount of money. Each year, this tournament takes place in a city around the world, with the mayhem and destruction written off as terrorist attacks or accidents, and this year's location is Middlesbrough, England. Unfortunately for one alcoholic priest, he is about to be mistaken for one of the deadly contestants and forced to take part in The Tournament.

I was expecting a low-brow Americanised Battle Royale rip-off, but there is a more European feel to this action adventure, which is akin to The Running Man, or to use a non-film comparison, it's a glossier version of The Button Man, a comic series written by John Wagner for 2000AD. While it isn't as satirical or political as Battle Royale, it is no less enjoyable and manages to keep the fast pace going throughout the movie, as well as introducing dynamic fight sequences throughout. I particularly liked the scene with the French Free-Runner as he attempted to kill the two main characters in the police car.

There are few notable names starring in this movie - Kelly Hu stars as the sympathetic hit-woman, Lei Lei, with Robert Carlyle as the reluctant priest, forced to participate in the deadly games. Ving Rhames and Ian Somerhalder also put in some memorable time as their roles, with Rhames as the world-weary assassin, tricked back into the game and Somerhalder's crazy Texan scenery-chewer, who is a far cry from his appearance as Boone in LOST.

It was slightly disappointing that the film felt the need to make some of the assassin's sympathetic as it gave the film a less morally ambiguous edge, and made us root for certain hit-men above overs, removing the Tournament feel to it. I would have preferred a more random feel to the plot, instead of knowing early on who was going to win the tournament, who would sacrifice themselves and who the bad guys would be. To an extent, Battle Royale was just as 'predictable' with the focus heavily on certain participants, which made it seems less evenly matched as a tournament.

I did enjoy this film more than I expected - I thought it might have been a low budget, poorly scripted, cash-in on the 'deadly gameshow' genre, but it actually had a lot of merit - both in the special effects and stunts, which were very impressive and with the calibre of acting and script. It could have easily have been a hammy production, with goofy hit-men and cringe-worthy dialogue. It wasn't high art - but it was damn fun!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2011
This is a no brainer movie; but is pretty well done. The action is well filmed, acting is better than average (Rober Carlyle even without effort, steals every scene).
In brief, worth the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
, November 9, 2011

This review is from: The Tournament (DVD)
Every seven years the world's greatest assassins assemble in a small city (different one each time) for a "cage match." The winner gets $10,000 and the 29 losers all die. Ving Rhames wins the one before the opening credits. He comes out of retirement because one of the assassins in the tournament murdered his wife. Some of the action is watched on closed circuit TV by rich people who make bets. Some of the characters are introduced by the emcee of the game. Tracking devices are surgically placed inside all the contestants, who can all track each other.

There isn't much in the way of developing characters. The premise is awful. However, if you like a fast paced movie with killing and exploding heads, this is the one. Now to make things interesting not every assassin plays by the same set of rules. Kelly Hu plays another favored assassin. Robert Carlyle plays a drunkard priest, who is not a player, but is a wild card in the game. There is a "mystery" as to who killed Rhames wife, which we find out rather quickly, and then there is the "why" as in "Why do we care?"

Roof top jumping, some CG type of fighting, impossible stunts, explosions, and a man who just enjoys killing...even dogs. Bullets that can pierce armor, but not a bar room table (where do they get those tables?)Borders on grindhouse.

F-bomb, strip club nudity (not Kelly)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2012
This was one of the most awesome action films of 2009! Extremely violent and brutal film which is very well directed and has a brilliant cast. The story is great and the movie as a whole is pretty original. It certainly does not let up on the action from the start to the end! A must for die hard action fans!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2012
I stumbled across this movie by accident and was very impressed. If you're into action sequences and blood and guts, then this is for you. The plot is a little far fetched, but it works. Forget about common sense, just sit back and enjoy the action.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2011
I watched this due to Carlyle's inclusion and a tempting trailer, and was pleasantly surprised. It is a good British, low-budget action film.

The Tournament is basically a superb idea, with a TV tournament of 16 assassins, with the last one standing wins (watched online and bet on by dodgy business men). Robert Carlyle is a priest who accidentally and reluctantly becomes involved, and Rhames is a killer - these 2 are the stars, with some nice support cast characters.

Worth a watch, nothing brilliant but on its own merits - an entertaining 'off the radar' production.
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...then you're sure to be in for a surprise. I confess... I have never been to Middlesbrough, but, based on what I've seen in `The Tournament' I can obviously expect to see a pretty deserted city where the few remaining inhabitants appear to adopt a `live and let live' policy to car chases on the motorway, shoot outs in strip clubs, exploding petrol stations, policemen being shot in the street, burning men running through the streets and bus hijackings.

For all these events are apparently all part of everyday life in Middlesbrough - especially when the thirty greatest assassins in the world have come together to play a `last man standing' game of death in the city, all for the benefit of some of the most clichéd billionaires ever seen.

You may have to suspend quite a lot of disbelief to truly get anything out of this film, like the way the billionaires can see every inch of Middlesbrough courtesy of CCTV cameras which can apparently peek inside buildings as well as watch streets. It's hardly a masterpiece, with many of the characters sporting fake American accents and Liam Cunningham speaking some of the most badly-written lines ever committed to film script.

There is so much wrong with this movie it's hard to list all its faults. However, there's still enough action in it to titillate most action-junkies. It's pretty forgettable, but not entirely awful. Robert Carlyle lends it a certain credibility, but Ving Rhames just looks a bit too old and fat to be believable.

(Maybe 3.5 stars on a good day)
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on 23 April 2014
To get it out-of-the-way, yes, this film clearly borrows from the likes of Smokin Aces, Battle Royale, Series 7 etc etc. To ensure there’s some dialogue – in what would otherwise be a speechless film – the silly priest storyline is added, although it could have been just as easily done with two underdog killers teaming up. Given that there’s 30 contestants + others watching, characterisation is obviously very thin.

Boring things aside, the action in this film is intense and very frequent – the highlight being a strip-club shootout/massacre with blood, guts and limbs flying everywhere. Nothing within the frame is safe, pedestrians, buildings, animals and vehicles (cars, jeeps and tankers all flipping and exploding at some point). Every five minutes there’s a big action scene, and most of it is of a very high standard. For a £4M movie to have such a decent cast, great action scenes and well-directed action (it’s his first film!!) – it’s nothing short of a miracle.

Someone please throw more money at the director, Scott Mann to kick off his next project – it’s absolutely the best in class for mindless action; a bloody schlock romp for the guys, full of explosions, guns, blood and tits.

Score: 7/10 - from ParagraphFilmReviews dot com
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2011
The Tournament is nothing more than an all out, action packed movie with little dialogue and loads of people being kicked in the face, shot or blown to pieces...graphically! If you watch this movie thinking there will be some clever plots twists, a plausable story or some kind of existential parable to be learnt then what the hell did you pick up this dvd for? It's unapolagetic nod to the simple pleasures of it's intended young male audience is refreshing. The ensemble if not largely unknown cast provides a masterclass of fight sequences and bad taste violence. The cheesy script is more respectful of it's audience than the patronising trend of late! We don't need to know what morals these people have, we want to see them destroy each other! The classic action films are coming back but still fly under the radar to avoid the condescending reviews of those who need to learn how to be a better person from their actions heroes...not me thanks. I want to watch one dude kick another dude to bits whilst riding a double decker bus through the streets of Middlesborough (really, it's filmed there) and then have another dude blow up in slow motion at a late night M&S garage. Get the DVD, get the beers in, invite the boys round and enjoy!!!
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