Film / The Tournament

A 2009 straight to DVD film starring Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu, and Ving Rhames, The Tournament is a game in a similar vein to Battle Royale - the characters are clearly drawn from both it and imitation The Condemned.

The Tournament itself is an event staged every seven years. Thirty of the world's greatest assassins are gathered in one place, where they kill each other to the last man. The title of "World's Greatest Assassin" and lots of money is the official prize, but naturally most of the competitors are doing it for other reasons specific to them. This time around, things have been spiced up with a 24 hour time limit and the inclusion of a former champion - whose wife was murdered by a competitor this time. It's Personal.

A little known film, reviews are sparse, and seemingly mixed. Despite the Follow the Leader premise and clear Cliché Storm, it remains entirely watchable, however.

This film contains examples of the following:

  • Action Girl: Lai Lai Zhen.
  • Anti-Hero: Lai Lai Zhen is a killer for hire, but she doesn't kill innocents.
    • Father Mac Avoy is another example. He's not immoral, but he's depressed and drunk.
  • Anti-Villain: Joshua Harlow, who, despite being a mass-murderer, is only doing it for revenge this time, and has genuinely given up the business besides that and self-defense.
  • The Atoner: Lai Lai Zhen feels guilty because she killed Joshua's wife. She even mentions she would be okay with dying in the tournament.
  • Ax-Crazy: Miles Slade is the best example, but obviously half the cast qualify.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: As if Miles Slade wasn't evil enough, he lures in a dog and shoots it in the head just because.
  • Boom Head Shot: Many of the characters die in this way, starting with Steve Tomko in Lai Lai's hotel room.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Notably, Lai Lai Zhen and Father Mac Avoy actually hijack this one... while being chased by a vengeful Joshua Harlow driving a semi-truck. For obvious reasons, they don't have time to evacuate the passengers.
  • Car Fu
  • Chase Fight
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Not explicitly quoted, but it is the film's opening scene.
  • Easy Evangelism: Father Mac Avoy does this with Lai Lai Zhen, and manages to convince her to spare Miles Slade's life. He dies anyway.
  • Evil Laugh: Miles Slade does this quite a few times.
  • Explosive Leash: The tracking devices are this, on a 24 hour timer.
  • Fin Gore:
    • What Lai Lai Zhen does to the first guy she encounters, Steve Tomko. He tries to strangle her with a wire, she manages to get behind him and cuts his fingers off with it. Then, she slams his mutilated hand into a wall.
    • Miles Slade frequently collects sliced-off fingers from his dead victims as trophies, including from a very much alive Joshua Harlow.
  • For the Evulz: Miles Slade genuinely enjoys killing, which is why he does it. It's not about pragmatism, or money, or any specific goal for him - just the fun of it. The smell specifically, for some reason.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A lot of extra details about the film are only revealed in this way, and thus are only visible by well-timed pauses while watching the DVD. This includes the names and odds of most of the competitors, which are visible on things like the characters' trackers and the big board in the viewing area.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Lai Lai Zhen easily qualifies, as she wants to win the money so she can retreat from society entirely, thus ensuring she won't kill any more innocent people. She also goes out of her way to help Father Mac Avoy throughout the film
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Father Mac Avoy invokes this dilemma on Lai Lai Zhen after she disarms and stabs Miles Slade's hand in place, and reduces the man to begging for his life.
  • I Love the Dead: Steve Tomko tells Lai Lai Zhen he will fuck her after he has killed her.
  • Informed Ability: Supposedly, the competitors are 30 of the best assassins in the world, but very few of them show any of the actual skills one would associate with such a title. Most of them resemble either typical thugs or the kind of people who kill a specific person for a specific reason.
  • Innocent Bystander: Father Mac Avoy.
  • Jitter Cam: Many of the fight scenes are shot this way, though it gets especially difficult to follow with nine assassins in the room.
  • Kick the Dog: Miles Slade invokes this fairly literally when he shoots a dog for no apparent reason. He also decides to aim at anyone, even to the point of not bothering to prioritise people actually fighting back, during the strip club shootout. After surviving that, he then finishes off the girl he was dancing with, for no reason whatsoever.
  • Kill 'em All: It's a film about assassins, so this is to be expected. Only Zhen and Mac Avoy survive, though the techs and the rich people gambling on the game are all fine too.
  • Le Parkour: Anton Bogart does this all the time. Seriously, it's his only character trait.
  • Man in White: Miles Slade dresses in a stylish white suit.
  • Neck Snap: How Anton Bogart dispatches of the female sniper, Gorel Mogerty.
  • Pet the Dog: Bogart pays for Mac Avoy's coffee, getting him out of one crisis, having just gotten him into a bigger one since his own tracking device was in it.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Every assassin Mac Avoy encounters in the first half of the film gives him one, conveniently allowing someone else time to get the drop on them and save the priest's life.
  • Professional Killer: Most of the cast, which is to be expected for a film about a tournament for assassins.
  • Scary Black Man: Joshua.
  • Weirdness Censor: Lai Lai Zhen gives this as the reason why the random killings, chaos and carnage caused by the tournament won't be questioned by the general population. A car crash or random murder, even a spree of them, is nothing unusual in a big city after all. It's heavily implied that the organisers are relying on this as well, to account for what their cleanup crews can't cover up in time.
  • What Have I Done: Lai Lai Zhen realizes this after killing Joshua's wife, who was not only innocent but pregnant.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The tracking devices implanted in the players can do this, as well as make the upper half of the torso asplode. Lai Lai also does this to another hitman when she pulls out the firing pin of a grenade that's still attached to him.