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The Tournament
The Tournament
Actors: Ving Rhames, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu, Ian Somerhalder, Liam Cunningham
Director: Scott Mann
Genres: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
R     2009     1hr 35min

Every seven years, thirty of the world?s most deadly assassins face off against one another for an outrageous cash prize. There?s only one rule: kill or die. As dozens of wealthy gamblers watch via closed-circuit TV, a cit...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ving Rhames, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu, Ian Somerhalder, Liam Cunningham
Director: Scott Mann
Creators: Nick Rowntree, Alan Graves, Angad Paul, Claus Clausen, David Higginson, Gary Young, Jonathan Frank
Genres: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Weinstein Company
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/20/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Kathy A. (kit30kat) from LEOMA, TN
Reviewed on 3/9/2010...
This was a great action movie with awesome effects , the actors are terric. Husband loved it, and I did too.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Solid, hyper violent, action, with several twists and turns!
D. Shamon | Pembroke Pines, FL United States | 10/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Languishing in development and production hell for what seems to be an eternity, Scott Mann's film THE TOURNAMENT finally gets a proper DVD release Oct 20th. The "combat death game" genre has been inundated with several films throughout the years such as BATTLE ROYAL, BLOODSPORT and THE ULTIMATE GAME. THE TOURNAMENT makes its mark by delivering a knockout punch with over the top action and enough plot twists to keep the viewer interested.

The story opens seven years ago with Ving Rhames character in a final bloodbath in a sordid meat packing company with two other assassins vying for the title of "World's Greatest Assassin". The scene is ultra sadistic, chaotic and bullets are flying like candy from an out of control mechanical Pez dispenser. As soon as Ving wins the battle, the environment rapidly shifts forward to the present day and the next tournament begins.

The present day battle, taking place in England, centers on 30 contestants all vying for a 10 million dollar prize and a chance to be hailed as the "World's Greatest Assassin". Each of the contestants is fitted with a two way tracking device which not only allows them to be seen by the game's ringleader, but also to be tracked by each other, on a blackberry type gadget. There are street cams, sat cams which are logged in with real time feeds to record the action for high stakes gamblers relaxing comfortably in front of jumbo screens surveying this game of death.

Each one of the devices contains a personal explosive as in the movie FORTRESS. The devises are heat sensitive and the tracking lights go out when either removed or the person expires. This is never fully explained, nor is it consistent. This fact is a major incongruity and contradiction, while also rather confusing. The relative ease as to which one of the contestants removes their device is bizarre. Probably the 10 million dollar prize would force people to want to stay in the game?

THE TOURNAMENT is a "story on the fly" auctioneer. The audience learns on the go about the characters, their faults, past history, and special skills while the action is occurring. There are several twists as the action unfolds and to divulge more about them would deter from the enjoyment of the fast paced, diversified story, which includes an unwilling participant who happens to be a priest. Revealing anything about him or why he is involved would deter from a plot complication which occurs quite early in the film.

Kelly Hu from "X-Men 2" and Martial Law plays a Chinese assassin named Lai Lai Zen with a strong set of hand to hand combat skills, combined with lightning fast reflexes. She has several interesting fights in the film. The filming style used when she is involved is like the Jason Bourne series, close up in your face action. The edits are sometimes a bit quick. This slightly deters from the action, but keeps the viewer engaged. The stunt martial duties are expertly performed by 3rd degree black belt Tea Kwon Do instructor, stuntwoman Kimberly Chiang. Ms Chiang is currently working on KING OF FIGHTERS having more than 50 films to her credit.

Kelly Hu has astonishing onscreen presence in THE TOURNAMENT especially as her character is drugged to implant the chip. She has to go through a wide variety of emotions throughout the film and commands the screen with her intensity and fortitude. A lead part such as this might catapult her back into the action realm.
Ving Rhames plays Joshua Harlow the past winner of the contest and a grieving husband. The story unfolds revealing find out his wife was murdered by one of the contestants. Usually relegated to big scary guy in his films, Rhames plays the role with passion and perhaps delivers one of his most dominant performances in his career.

This movie is so unbelievably violent and the pace is astonishingly frantic almost in the style of SHOOT `EM UP. THE TOURNAMENT also contains a variety of elements to offend everyone. Not for the faint at heart, this movie includes nudity and violence in the same scene, as a strip club becomes a warzone. One of the characters, playing up his crazy cowboy mentality, kills people and dare I say an animal not even in the game just for fun. If these facts are bothersome by all means stay away, the audience has been warned.

The twelve million dollar budget was used to full effect with hand to hand combat, knife fights, gunfights, and a battle on a Double Decker bus! The action is nonstop for 90 straight minutes. Oddly there is a bizarre montage in the middle with the slowest music possible, bullets and bodies are flying. Perhaps this is some sort of an attempt of a dichotomous allegory or maybe simply budget or time constraints.

Even with the incongruities, distractions, rather bad box art, and plot holes this is an unyielding, forceful, and memorable action film. THE TOURNAMENT features several blink and you miss it sequences and is worth repeat watching and should have had a theatrical run. The recommendation is a strong rent even a buy, especially if you liked SHOOT `EM UP or BATTLE ROYAL.

Danny Shamon-2009
Gentlemen . . . we have a winner!
trebe | 07/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Hitmen have been a marvelously convenient tool for screenwriters. Because of their unusual occupation, they have often been used to solve problems. In the case of director Scott Mann's thriller The Tournament (2009), hitmen are the major players, as thirty of the best in the biz, are competing to the death, for a ten million dollar prize.

Hosted by a fellow named Powers (Liam Cunningham), the contest takes place every seven years, and runs for 24 hours. Tracked by cameras, betters watch the action, and wager big money on the outcome. The location is in Great Britain, where each contestant has a tracking device implanted in their abdomen, set to explode when the 24 hour period is over.

With the conflict spilling out on to the streets, the field quickly narrows from thirty, to just a handful of competitors. Joshua Harlow (Ving Rhames), the winner of the last competition has entered again, after learning that one of the entrants murdered his wife. Not much is revealed about the other players. Lai Lai Zen (Kelly Hu) is one of those favored to win, but she gets tangled up trying to protect Father McAvoy (Robert Carlyle), a priest who unwittingly becomes part of the game. Having removed his tracking device, assassin Anton Bogart (Sebastien Foucan) is a dangerous wild card. While psychotic Texan Miles Slade (Ian Somerhalder) has a flair for the dramatic, and for collecting souvenirs from the kill.

The inclusion of the alcoholic McAvoy, and his relationship with Lai Lai Zen, introduces the concept of redemption, and keeps the contest from being a pure shoot out. Harlow's burning drive for revenge, provides fuel that drives the film, which has some mean action sequences, plenty of gunplay, bloody carnage, creative fight sequences, and way too many vehicles turning over. Hu and Foucan shine in several demanding fight scenes.

The Tournament is a straightforward comic book action feature that mostly delivers. Those expecting a furious battle royal with dozens of combatants, may be slightly disappointed, as the scale isn't quite that grand. A wild shootout in a strip club, comes the closest to a war zone, with a totally loony Slade blasting everything in sight. There are some tinges of dark humor, but the tone is mostly solemn and serious. With Carlyle, Somerhalder, Hu, and Rhames providing solid performances, the acting is fairly good for a film of this type. Unfortunately, the DVD release is stripped down without any extras."
"What's the matter? Are you out of bullets? Have some of min
Mike Schorn | APO, AE United States | 01/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Direct-to-video action films are admirable. Against all technical and monetary odds, they strive to put on a good show for folks who are willing to take a chance beyond mainstream movie mulch. Finally, finally, finally, however, we have a low budget film that's legitimately capable of going toe-to-toe with Hollywood productions and beating them at their own game while showing up their deficiencies. "The Tournament" - the feature-length debut of TV and short film director Scott Mann - is easily the best action flick to be released DTV since the likes of Undisputed II - Last Man Standing: not only is it packing more gunfights, martial arts fisticuffs, and car chases than the average big-budget picture, but its high production values guarantee that it's not going to alienate people who shy away from movies that aren't 100% glossy and streamlined.

The story: every decade, powerful businessmen congregate to organize and gamble to the tide of 'the Tournament' - a no-holds-barred battle royal pitting the world's most dangerous assassins against eachother. In the midst of this, a troubled, alcoholic priest (Robert Carlyle, The Full Monty) is mistakenly entered as a contestant; his only hope for survival rests with the efforts of a former Triad hitwoman (Kelly Hu, "X2") trying to atone for her past. In their way are 29 of the killing world's elite, including a vengeful returning champion (Ving Rhames, Pulp Fiction) and a sadistic rookie entry (Ian Somerhalder, "Lost").

Almost as significant as the shot in the arm it gives to the DTV genre is how adeptly this film turns Kelly Hu into an action heroine. Whether you're not really a fan of her or agree with me that she's had it coming for way too long, she proves herself more than capable in here, not just by way of attitude, but also via her impressive physical abilities, best highlighted in a fantastic hand-to-hand fight with the awesome Scott Adkins (Ninja). Of course, she's not the only one who steals the show: Sebastien Foucan, who was introduced to the world by way of his jaw-dropping parkour episode in "Casino Royale", returns to the screen after a three-year absence to reestablish his talents in some thoroughly satisfying free running exhibitions. Frequent shootouts incorporating nearly the entire cast might be considered less original than anything choreographed by John Woo, but nevertheless feature an environmental resourcefulness that, when filmed as well as they are, makes them difficult not to watch. A bus chase involving a cool over-the-top car flip solidifies the package: there's something here for every action fan.

The acting is surprisingly good when you consider that dramatics have always been a grey area for fight movies. The aforementioned cast, as well as Liam Cunningham (The Wind That Shakes the Barley) as the top conspirator, are the only players who need to show thematic talent, and they pull it off admirably, with Rhames giving an especially ringing performance during the film's last ten minutes. This is a surprising asset when you consider the film's level of violence, which could have easily drowned out the movie's more sophisticated parts. Within the first three minutes or so, a man has his head graphically blown off, and this level of bloodletting doesn't let up throughout the film. Most of the gore, however, is pure spectacle - it only gets cruel in a few scenes. Thus, if the movie has a fault, it's a bit self-indulgent with its blood content...but then again, a weathered action fan could easily read this as homage to the glory days of action-oriented bloodletting a'la Out for Justice or Commando.

All the same, I really can't stress enough how impressive this movie is for being produced on a mere £3.6 million budget and still looking as cool as it does. I really don't know what else to say other than to repeat myself one more time: while "The Tournament" will entertain people who have yet to be weaned off big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, it's those of you who know just how hard it is to get an independent film made that will appreciate what a remarkably explosive action package this is. Buy it. Buy it now."