*In a weekend of dire releases—“Space Jam: A New Legacy” and “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions”—the good, the bad, and the ugly can all be seen onscreen.
“Space Jam: A New Legacy,” directed by Malcolm D. Lee, must be credited for its positive portrayal, although sometimes contentious, of a father and son’s relationship. LeBron James worked extremely hard to make a name for himself and he wants nothing less for his son, Dom (Cedric Joe).
Following in dad’s footsteps, however, is not on Dom’s agenda. A gifted programmer, he does not want to attend basketball camp. Dom would much rather attend a camp for video game design. As his father pushes for greatness on the court, Dom pushes back, telling him, “…Let me do me.” Things go haywire when LeBron takes Dom to a marketing meeting at Warner Bros. where executives are excited to have LeBron get in involved in the revolutionary technology Warner 3000 that would digitally incorporate him into an endless array of film and TV projects.
LeBron declines and this does not sit well with the evil algorithm Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) who sucks LeBron and Dom into his digital domain, forcing them to go head-to-head in a basketball showdown. LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars. A Tunes versus Goons.
There are six writers on this exhausting, bordering on boring project and too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth, especially if not one person is cognizant of the end result. Pepe Le Pew’s character was pulled from the movie because it “added to the rape culture.” So not one of the six thought to eliminate, in the Warner Bros. mashup, a nod to “A Clockwork Orange”?
Sonequa Martin-Green, Zendaya, Khris Davis, Jeff Bergman, and Eric Bauza also star in “Space Jam.”
‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’
The narrator of “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” begins the story by telling of the human carnage uncivilized men engaged in for sport, beginning with the gladiators. “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions,” like “Space Jam,” is a lackluster sequel. As with the tormentors in “Escape Room,” the perpetrators are rich. “Escape Room” reminds me of “The Game,” where wealthy banker Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) takes part in a very dangerous game.
In the “Tournament of Champions” installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering the what they have in common to survive; and discovering they’ve all played the game before. Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller), the only survivors of the deadly “Escape Room,” return with a vengeance. No one believes their story about the sinister Minos corporation that puts unsuspecting individuals in elaborate life-threatening scenarios for the entertainment of the rich.
Expect the usual bloodletting and non-stop chambers of horror to continue.
Directed by Adam Robitel, “The Tournament of Champions” also stars Indya Moore, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel, and Carlito Olivero.
Facebook.com/TheFilmStrip Twitter: @thefilmstrip Instagram.com/thefilmstriptm