The Tournament (2009)

The Tournament (2009)

Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Release Date: November 8th, 2010
Certificate: 18
Running Time: 95 minutes

Director: Scott Mann

Cast: Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu, Ian Somerhalder, Liam Cunningham, Ving Rhames, Sebastien Foucan, Craig Conway, John Lynch, Nick Rowntree, Rachel Grant, Bashar Rahal, Andy Nyman

Partially filmed in Bulgaria as well as England, The Tournament is an action thriller about a deadly game which takes place every 7 years in a different location around the world each time. 30 contract killers battle it out against each other for a cash prize sum of $10m and the title of ‘World’s Best’. They’re fitted with a tracking device and the game is watched via CCTV by a collection of the world’s richest people, who gather to gamble on the various outcomes.

If there’s more than one player left at the end of the game’s 24 hour run, the remaining tracking devices will detonate, encouraging the players to take no hostages and leave no survivors.

The Tournament (2009)

Robert Carlyle stars as Father Macavoy, a priest with a serious drinking problem. He gets pulled into the game when he swipes a cup of coffee from someone while trying to shake off the alcohol from the night before. Kelly Hu plays Lai Lai, a professional killer who has been tracking Macavoy’s signal, when their paths cross they realise they can help each other find their way but with other killers tracking them including the insane Miles Slade (Ian Somerhalder) and former World’s Best, Joshua Harlow (Ving Rhames), time is not on the side of those who seek redemption for their past transgressions.

The Tournament (2009)

It’s great to see the former Sunset Beach star, Kelly Hu, in such an action packed film. Hu’s first break came in the television series Growing Pains before moving on to other shows such as Melrose Place and television’s first and only post-modern soap opera, Sunset Beach where she played Dr. Rae Chang in 1997. Although Kelly only spent six months on the show during its 3 year run, her versatility for drama and action was well exercised in that short time on the show. Talking about the screenplay for The Tournament, the actress says:

“I got sent the screenplay a couple of years ago, and I loved it. I thought it was a really fun script with terrific action. The characters were well thought out. It wasn’t just an action film – it had a lot of fleshed out roles. This is by far the most action that I’ve ever had to do in a film, and that’s saying a lot! Luckily I have to have the best stunt girl in the world, Kimmy Chaing, who is helping me out. She has put herself on the line for this film – doing everything from jumping out of moving busses and getting shot at, not to mention all of the fight scenes.”

The Tournament (2009)

The former Miss Teen USA and Miss Hawaii USA has also balanced a successful modelling career with her acting. On her character’s motivation, both for the tournament and for being a contract killer:

“Lai Lai is very tortured and is certainly not in the tournament by choice. But she’s deeply regretful for the things that she’s done, which sort of leads her to the competition. Lai Lai figures that if she doesn’t win this thing then she’ll get killed, and that she deserves everything what’s coming to her. She’s a very complex character. I try to understand exactly where Lai Lai is coming from. It’s hard to know why people become assassins. Initially she sees it as just a job. But she really is more sensitive than that though, as we see later on in the film.”

On her karate training she says:

“I was trained in karate many years ago. I haven’t really had to use much in most of my films, so I’m coming back to my roots now with all this action. I had to try to train very quickly to get back into it. It’s so heavy with action, so I had to very quickly get into shape. There’s so many scenes where I’m using martial arts and fighting, it was really quite difficult to get back there. But I think we did. Thank God we had such a great choreographer and great stunt people to work with, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get through this.”

The Tournament (2009)

The Tournament came as a big surprise. It’s more than an above average action movie which easily puts to shame films like The Expendables and Salt. Its action sequences are incredibly fast paced, exhilarating to watch and are really well put together; the gas station scene with the unsuspecting cashier is gruesome yet hilarious and there a moments of black humour which balance the horror nicely. Ian Somerhalder hides his boyish good looks for this movie as Miles Slade, a sadistic killer with a penchant for blowing things away and cutting off people’s fingers. Its character set-ups are also really well done, in particular; the way in way Macavoy is brought into the game and how the plot with Joshua’s wife is resolved in the climax.

The Tournament (2009)

If you enjoyed films like Battle Royale (2000) and Smokin’ Aces (2006), then you will really enjoy The Tournement.

One Response to “The Tournament (2009)”

  1. Tweets that mention The Tournament (2009) Review | Static Mass Emporium -- Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by maria, Static Mass Emporium. Static Mass Emporium said: Tomorrow's Blu-ray releases include The #Tournament, watched it last night and it was amazing!!! Review: [...]

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