6/10 2019’s “Escape Room” had a fascinating premise but it borrowed a little too heavily from other horror franchises and the evil corporation at the center of the movie had an extremely unrealistic amount of money and power that was laughable when any logic was applied to thinking about it. I gave the movie a 4/10 and remarked how almost all of the cast was full of unknown actors. In just three years (two plus one for pandemic delays), a bit has changed. Lead actress Taylor Russell has made quite the name for herself with multiple leading roles in underrated films like “Words on Bathroom Walls” and the phenomenal “Waves”. Deborah Ann Woll was a regular on Netflix’s “Daredevil” series. Both actresses are rising stars with Russell in particular quickly becoming one of my favorites (her being easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt either). While this follow up still has some issues that plagued the first movie, this is a step up and an entertaining movie that I’d recommend if you enjoyed the first installment. As for the repeated mistakes, the evil Minos Corporation is still ridiculously powerful. They seemingly have control over anyone and everyone, have unlimited resources and can know information about people that would be impossible to figure out. It is kind of a “get out of jail free” card for the writers who can overcome any story obstacle by just having this corporation have the power to do anything. Also, I know our lead characters are intelligent when it comes to figuring out the clues for all of these escape rooms but to essentially never fail a single one is just a statistical impossibility. Even highly intelligent people make mistakes, especially when faced with life or death pressure. Minor mistakes pop up like a scene that has acid rain which would melt some chains on a phone booth yet characters have to collect the acid rain to pour on it, despite the fact that the rain coming down would have melted it anyways. So while the movie has its eye rolling moments and not much is believable here, the movie is still a step up from the original. While the supporting cast is pretty disposable, Russell and male lead Logan Miller are likeable protagonists who are easy to root for. The creativity in coming up with the escape rooms and their respective clues are extremely well done and fun to try to figure out as the characters do the same. The plot doesn’t just copy and paste the first movie but instead takes some interesting twists and turns that I wasn’t anticipating to keep the movie fresh and the stakes high. The score was also noticeably better this time around as John Carey and Brian Tyler (four first names teaming up) are able to up the intensity of each scene while the clock is ticking against our protagonists. The improved score, better established cast, clever plot twists and lean run time will have you not caring as much that the plot is silly and realism non-existent. The movie sets up for a final piece of the trilogy and I hope it gets greenlit so we can see how the story concludes.

#TheGameOfDeath / #SandyLand / #AMonopolyOnHorror / #ACalculatedRisk / #Axis&Franchise / #FlashBackgammon

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