The Tournament (2009)
Director: Scott Mann
Cast: Robert Carlyle as Father MacAvoy, Kelly Hu as Lai Lai Zhen, Ian Somerhalder as Miles Slade, Liam Cunningham as Powers, Ving Rhames as Joshua Harlow, Sebastien Foucan as Anton Bogart, Craig Conway as Steve Tomko, John Lynch as Gene Walker, Nick Rowntree as Eddy Cusack, Rachel Grant as Lina Sofia, Bashar Rahal as Asa Sadi, Andy Nyman as Tech Eddie, Iddo Goldberg as Tech Rob, Scott Adkins as Yuri Petrov, Camilla Power as Powers Assistant
I am no sure what the budget for the film was but obviously the
producers are making cuts due to the hard pressed economy. Much of the
shots are done in Bulgaria. I imagine it is much cheaper to block off
one of the two Bulgarian national highways to shoot the night
car/truck/bus chase scene than blocking off Interstate 5 in L.A., for
example. Much of the production crew is also Bulgarian which, I
imagine, helps create jobs in the small Balkan country.
Besides this trivia, I gave the flick 3 because it joins the adamant
insistence of people in the movie-making business that action films
will please the audience only if they are gory, unnecessarily gory, and
add more gore on top of that.
Language. The F-amous and F-abulous F word is well exploited to beef up
the dialog. Nothing new. Also, I wonder when are they going to start
using the name of Buddha as a curse word in those Hollywood and
quasi-Hollywood productions!? No surprises in this respect, too.
If the script was not so blandly predictable and setting us up for the
"gore experience" I could have given the film a 5 star rating. The
chases are well filmed, the acting is reasonably good and there is a
level of surprise in the ending. Surprise, that is, if you did not pay
attention during the movie. The blowing up of humans and the rest of
the violence actually take away from enjoying the fast pace of the
film, if flying body parts are not in your taste for action
Not surprisingly character development is also imperfect, shall we say?
The Lai Lai Zhen character represents the ever present noble chick,
turned bad, because bad people made her do it. She is one of the top
assassins, and believe it or not, ends up having a heart of gold -
inappropriate take compared with the rest of the intentions of the
movie-makers and the tone of the movie. Joshua Harlow (Ving Rhames),
the #1 world assassin also has a soft, tender heart. When he is not
murdering, blowing up and hacking people he is a family man. The
attempt at drama within and after the massive massacre was entirely, I
think out of place. They should have stuck with the senseless killings.
Stay with what you're good at.