Almost immediately after Escape Room teased a sequel with its ending, work began on the follow-up. Titled Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, it planned to directly continue the story of the original’s survivors. Naturally, like the first film, it follows a group of people who are tricked into participating in a deadly escape room, solving dangerous and near-impossible puzzles in order to get out with their lives.

Tournament of Champions sees Taylor Russell and Logan Miller return in their respective roles of Zoey and Ben. After surviving their initial encounter with the shadowy organization known as Minos, they head to New York to find its headquarters in the hope of exposing them to the world. Predictably, they end up trapped inside another of Minos’ escape rooms. This time, though, they’re joined by other winners of previous games.

As is often the case for continuations of franchises with incredibly specific premises, Tournament of Champions takes an inherent risk. There’s a balancing act to consider: the follow-up needs to be true to the central idea of the original, but also needs to distinguish itself. Reframing the escape room premise by having victims with prior knowledge of Minos is an attempt to keep things fresh, but does it work?

Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions Is More Of The Same – But Still Somehow Worse

Indya Moore as Brianna, Taylor Russell as Zoey, and Holland Roden as Rachel in Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (2021)

In essence, there’s no real differences between Tournament of Champions and its predecessor. What’s worse, by asserting that its characters all have previous experience with Minos’ games feels like a hollow attempt at originality. Not only does it fail to work, but it barely makes sense.

For the sequel, everything should supposedly by bigger. The rooms should be more elaborate, the traps more deadly. Unfortunately, this isn’t at all the case: it really just feels like more of the same. Even its central puzzles are simpler than those in the first film.

Tournament of Champions also delivers a jumbled ending with a predictable final twist. The extended edition offers an entirely different climax and features multiple key characters absent from the theatrical cut, further confusing the sequel’s story. Basically, it’s a hot mess, and it’s also insultingly unintelligent throughout. It takes the bare bones of the original and manages to further waste its potential. Finally, it doesn’t even deliver a proper ending, shamelessly setting up another undeserved sequel. Insulting on more than one level, then.

Rating: 20%

Summary: Despite continuing a straightforward story, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions somehow manages to be both predictable and overcomplicated. The novelty of its gimmick is all but gone, exposing its story as hollow and largely unexciting.

Highlight: The set pieces still manage to be a visual spectacle, even if the ideas behind them are less inspired than before.