The Tournament
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Synopsis for
The Tournament (2009) More at IMDbPro »

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A series of TV news reports are shown about acts of violence across the globe; gunfights, shootings, explosions, terrorist attacks, and other acts of murder, both small and larger scale. In some of these reports, the newscasters say that authorities are dismissing some of the random explosions as accidental. A voiceover by a man named Powers (Liam Cunningham) says that not everything is as it appears. Every seven years an extraordinary event takes place in an ordinary town, and every-day people won't see it or otherwise know about it... but it happens.

Shirao, Brazil, seven years prior to the present. Blood drips off of a meat hook in a burning warehouse, and there is the distant sound of machine gun fire. Joshua Harlow (Ving Rhames) ducks for cover, finding his revolver empty. Off to one side, another man lies wounded, also out of ammunition. The wounded man asks Joshua, 'Don't let it be him.'

Joshua checks a mobile device and sees a display with one dot in the center, and another dot rapidly approaching the centered one. Gene Walker (John Lynch), a long-haired man with an automatic rifle arrives on the scene, taunting Joshua and opening fire. He sprays the area with bullets, further wounding the wounded man. Joshua manages to hit a button that causes the meat hooks, some still with large slabs of meat on them, to begin moving, providing him some cover as he runs. A closed-circuit TV camera (CCTV) is shown in one corner of the ceiling as Joshua runs into another room; the armed man following. Walker calls Joshua a 'stain' on their 'profession' and invites him to see the only way to quit.

Joshua sees a discarded shotgun near where Walker is standing. Creating a distraction, he runs, leaps and slides across the blood-slick floor as Walker hurries to load a new magazine into his rifle. Grabbing the shotgun and pressing it right up against Walker's nose and mouth, Joshua pulls the trigger and Walker's head is turned into a gory mess. On the mobile device, one of two adjacent dots on the display, disappears.

Joshua walks back to the wounded man and lights a cigarette. The wounded man expresses relief that Joshua won the encounter. Joshua gives the cigarette to the wounded man, letting him take a few puffs. The wounded man tells Joshua to enjoy his new life together with another unnamed individual. Raising a handgun, Joshua fires, putting the wounded man out of his misery. Another dot disappears from the mobile display. Joshua slowly turns and glares at a CCTV on the ceiling.

The scene shifts to a monitor with numerous screen displays, all switching to show Joshua's face as he glares at the camera. Powers turns to face a group of people and announces, 'We have a winner.' Cheers and applause break out. The view pans out to show the rest of the room; a group of well-dressed men and women stand and applaud, around a large betting table on which is placed numerous stacks of large-denomination currencies of all kinds.

The movie logo appears.

The scene switches to the present day, seven years after the events in Brazil. The location is Middlesbrough in England. We're shown numerous locations around the city, and a large prevalence of CCTV's.

A dark-haired Chinese woman, Lai Lai Zhen (Kelly Hu) gets off a train, palming a card with the name and address of the Ivy House hotel. The card shows that she has a reservation at room 107. She arrives at the hotel in the early evening.

On arriving in her room, she lays out her luggage and finds a largish metal briefcase waiting for her on a table; her name printed on a piece of paper taped to the side. Inside the briefcase are two firearms with high-load magazines and several boxes of spare ammunition, as well as a small medicine cup filled with a red liquid. Taped to the cup is a small piece of paper with '9 pm' written on it. Lai Lai stares at the cup nervously as she holds it up and examines it.

Lai Lai takes a shower and, at exactly 9:00 on her clock, she swallows the red liquid in the medicine cup. Immediately the powerful drug starts taking effect. Lai Lai makes it to her bed before collapsing on it. As she loses consciousness fast, she sees two men in white coats come into her room, and grabs for one of her guns, but immediately drops it as she blacks out. The men don surgical masks and gloves, opening two briefcases. We see one of them making a surgical incision in Lai Lai's midsection.

Father Joseph MacAvoy (Robert Carlyle) sits at a bar, asleep; his head down among several glasses of alcohol. It's early morning; the bar owner had left him there to sleep after he passed out the previous night. Father MacAvoy is a drunk with an alcohol addiction that disgusts the bar owner. He throws up at the bar owner's feet as he's awakened. The bar owner tosses him out of the bar and tells him not to come back.

Two audio-visual Techies, Eddie (Andy Nyman) and Rob (Iddo Goldberg), tap into the city's CCTV mainframe, taking control of it, under the watchful eye of Miss Hunter (Camilla Power). She directs them to block all coms and scramble all emergency radio frequencies. In a matter of minutes they've hijacked complete control of all of Middlesbrough's communication systems.

Miss Hunter contacts Powers and lets him know that all camera and com control is live, and all implants are active. Powers is satisfied and tells Miss Powers to make sure cleanup crews are ready, since they're going to have a busy day.

Powers stands before a wall covered with digital monitors, at the head of a betting table on which are placed numerous stacks of high-denomination currencies of all kinds. A large group of well-dressed men and their girlfriends and wives sit around the table. Powers welcomes these guests to an event he calls simply, 'The Tournament,' which is being held in Great Britain for the first time, as the city of Middlesbrough has the highest concentration of CCTV cameras of anywhere on Earth.

Powers explains the rules: Thirty of the world's most deadly and skilled assassins and killers for hire are gathered in Middlesbrough for 'the ultimate sporting event;' that is, an all-out battle to the death competition with the winner getting a cash prize worth ten million, and the title of "The World's Best." Powers has a team of beautiful young women in red dresses ready to take bets (100,000 minimum), serve refreshments, and some of the women are seen flirting with the men as well.

Powers gives a run down of some of the entrants that are favored: Lai Lai Zhen, abandoned as a baby and left for dead; found and raised by the Triad and killing people on their behalf before she was fully grown; the number one hitter in the Eastern Market for three years. Odds on her are 10-1. Frenchman Anton Bogart (Sebastien Foucan) is a champion quality athlete; silent, stealthy and smart, he lives for the thrill of the hunt. Odds on him are 9-1. Yuri Petrov Scott Adkins) is Russian Special Forces; a lethal all-around killer and fighter, always armed to the teeth and thoroughly trained in unarmed combat, knives, guns and bombs. Odds on him are 12-1. Miles Slade (Ian Somerhalder) is 'a crazy Texan kid' as Powers calls him; although an outside bet, he's reckless, ruthless and wild, and guaranteed entertainment. Odds on him are 25-1.

Powers then says that there's also a dramatic late entrant; Joshua Harlow, the champion of the previous tournament, retired from the business after winning, but has returned for this year's tournament for revenge. Four months ago, Joshua's wife was murdered in their Miami home... and one of the participants in this year's tournament was responsible for her death. Joshua is the odds-on favorite for this year's tournament at 2-1.

Miss Hunter instructs the Techies to activate tracking devices, and more monitor displays light up with dots. Powers explains that a tracker is implanted in the body of each participant in the tournament. Not only does this allow the Tournament's staff and audience to track each participant, but each participant is given a mobile GPS device that lets them also track each other and find each other. Each tracker is tuned to a normal human body temperature of 98.6 degrees. When an entrant is killed, and their body temperature begins to immediately decrease, their tracker goes inactive.

A timer then appears on the boards. Powers explains that this year, the stakes are being raised. The tournament will be lasting 24 hours. If more than one tracker is active at the end of that time, without a single winner, the trackers will detonate, killing all remaining participants. Thirty competitors, twenty-four hours, and one rule: kill or die.

Lai Lai jolts awake in her hotel room, grabbing one of her guns and sweeping the room; finding it empty. On the table, where the briefcase had been, is now a mobile device which lights up with the tracking display. She lifts her sleeping garment and finds something placed just under the skin of her midsection, the incision closed with stitches. As the Techies watch her with ogling eyes, they pick up a proximity alert: another entrant in the tournament, a Steve Tomko (Craig Conway) is closing in on Lai Lai, and has killed an innocent man in the hall in the process. Miss Hunter notifies Powers, and all monitors light up with the camera displays for the hotel.

Lai Lai hears a knock on her door. Silently padding to the side of her door, she asks who's there, and the answer says it's room service. Taking the do not disturb sign from her side of the doorknob, she waves it in front of the peephole. Hearing no response, she looks through the peephole and sees a covered tray on a portable table. Keeping to the side of her door, she slowly opens it, and then sweeps the hallway with her gun. Suspecting a bomb, she grabs the tablecloth covering the mobile table and yanks it away, causing the tray and its cover to clatter to the floor; a meager breakfast spilling all around.

Lai Lai happens to glance down at the tray's cover, and in its reflection, she sees Tomko sneaking up on her from behind. With her hands and the barrel of the gun, she blocks a wire garrote as he snaps it around her neck from behind. The two struggle as Tomko swings Lai Lai around by the garrote, slamming her into the furniture and walls. Lifting her legs, Lai Lai braces against Tomko and 'runs up' the wall, flipping over Tomko and breaking the choke hold. Grabbing one end of the garrote, she snaps the wire tight around Tomko's other hand, ripping the fingers off. Tomko is left without any means of putting up an effective fight. He charges blindly, Lai Lai easily fending him off. She throws him into the bathroom and recovers her gun, putting a bullet through his forehead as he turns around for another charge.

Lai Lai's win and scoring of 'first blood' is applauded in the show room, and the odds on her decrease to 7-1. The Techies pick up the signal from Anton, noting him heading into a cluster on the high street where several other tournament entrants are, and they switch monitor view to all the cameras there along that street.

A woman in a long black leather coat, Gorel Modery, walks across a rooftop, holding a long carrying case. As Anton walks into a coffee shop, a man named Ivan Stoyanova drives up in a car and checks his mobile tracking display.

Anton goes into the men's room of the coffee shop, safe from prying CCTV cameras. He cuts the tracker out from under his skin. Stoyanova looks at his tracking monitor with confusion as Anton's signal disappears. The Techies also note this, and not having seen any evidence of a fight, start conducting sensor sweeps and checking for his body heat signature.

Anton walks back through the dining room of the coffee shop and tosses his tracker into a pot of coffee before sitting at a table. The hot coffee reactivates the tracker, again to the puzzlement of the Techies and Stoyanova. The waitress takes the coffee pot and refills the cup of a guest eating at a booth. Just before he can take a sip from his refilled cup, his cell phone rings. He answers it and finds the call is from a client bringing news requiring him to leave the diner immediately. The guest puts some money down on the table, puts the cup back down and hurries out.

Eating at a table near the now-empty booth is Father MacAvoy. Seeing the guest's full coffee cup unattended, and his own cup empty, he looks around with shifty eyes and grabs the cup, taking a sip. The waitress notices and asks if he's going to pay for the cup. Anton suddenly comes up and puts some coins down, paying for the cup on Father MacAvoy's behalf. Anton walks out of the coffee shop and past Stoyanova, who, like most of the Tournament's entrants, doesn't know what any of the other participants look like.

Unbeknownst to Father MacAvoy, he's swallowed Anton's tracker. As he leaves the coffee shop, Stoyanova and Modery, checking their tracking monitors, mistake him for a tournament entrant. Modery has set up a long-range, high powered rifle on a tripod on the rooftop and starts lining up a shot on Father MacAvoy. Just as the crosshairs on her scope center, a bus passes in front of Father MacAvoy, blocking her view and her shot. As the priest walks down the street, more signs and car roofs continue to obstruct Modery's view. Meanwhile, Anton stealthily runs across several rooftops, jumping from building to building. Stoyanova discreetly follows Father MacAvoy in his car.

Stoyanova pulls a shotgun from the passenger seat and carefully pokes it through the passenger side window, preparing to shoot Father MacAvoy. But just as he's about to pull the trigger, Modery switches her shot and takes out Stoyanova instead. Lining back up on Father MacAvoy, she's about to take him out when a man who knows the priest stops him on the street and they start talking; the man obstructing Modery's view. She waits as the two men continue talking. The man finally walks away, and Modery's finger is tightening on the trigger, when Anton comes up from behind and grabs her, breaking her neck.

The Techies note Modery's tracker going out, and think there's another software glitch, as there was no other tracking dot near her own signal. Anton takes Modery's rifle and watches Father MacAvoy walk down the street. The Techies pick up Anton's tracker, but don't have a visual on him, frustrating the both of them.

Father MacAvoy walks toward his church. Parked near it is Yuri Petrov. Seeing a tracking dot signal as Father MacAvoy approaches the church, Petrov peers curiously at the priest, and then readies his rifle.

Father MacAvoy enters the church and kneels before the cross, praying for hope and inner strength. The distraught priest sees only emptiness in his heart, and he prays for a renewed sense of being. But then, after he finishes, he reaches into his inside jacket pocket and takes a flask of alcohol, preparing to take a sip.

Father MacAvoy hears a noise behind him and turns around, dropping his flask. Lai Lai Zhen is walking up behind him, her gun at the ready. She looks curiously at the priest, double checking her tracking monitor which confirms a signal from right in front of her. Father MacAvoy, not understanding but seeing the gun Lai Lai has trained on him, pleads for mercy as Lai Lai demands to know why he isn't trying to defend himself.

Just then, the church door is blown open and Petrov storms in, throwing several grenades. Lai Lai shoots one grenade away from her, and then dives for cover and fires at Petrov, but one grenade blows a large wooden pew loose from the floor and it flies right into her, knocking her senseless. Petrov walks up to Father MacAvoy, mockingly waving his rifle as to make the outline of the cross. But before he can shoot, a recovered Lai Lai knocks the rifle aside. Petrov draws a pistol and Lai Lai also knocks that aside. But Petrov proves lethally skilled at unarmed combat, a match for Lai Lai. The two duel hand to hand, Lai Lai starting to gain an advantage until she uses a leg scissors throw to take Petrov down and then kicks him in the mouth. Infuriated, Petrov goes on the attack and takes the initiative, battering Lai Lai with furious punches, and soccer-ball kicking her into a pillar. Showing no mercy, Petrov looses a haymaker that clobbers Lai Lai like gangbusters and lays her out on the floor. Petrov grabs her up and plunges her head into a fountain in the church, trying to drown her.

Bewildered, frightened and understanding none of what's going on, Father MacAvoy sees Lai Lai getting the beating of her life, and he reacts. He grabs up Petrov's rifle and presses it against Petrov's back, demanding he stop. Petrov easily kicks Father MacAvoy away, but this gives Lai Lai the chance to shove her head back up and out of the water. Taking the fight back up, Lai Lai locks Petrov into a cruel arm bar, and throws him to the ground again. As he starts to rise, Lai Lai gives him the middle finger... showing she's used it to pull the pin for one of the grenades still on Petrov's belt. The grenade detonates and makes a gory mess out of Petrov.

Lai Lai turns her attention back to Father MacAvoy, interrogating him on who he works for and where he gets his orders from. Despite the priest's plain fear of her, Lai Lai's mobile tracking display shows a tracking dot right in front of her. When she grabs Petrov's rifle away from him, she sees he didn't chamber the next round, showing he has no idea how to use the weapon. Finally she grabs Father MacAvoy's shirt and pulls it up, baring his midsection; there is no scar, no trace of any incision. Lai Lai sees that Father MacAvoy was telling her the truth; he's an ordinary priest, not a fighter nor an assassin, and he has no idea what he's been caught up in.

Back in the tournament show room, Lai Lai's win over Petrov is drawing cheers and a new round of wagers. Miss Hunter and the Techies have finally figured out that Anton Bogart managed to cut the tracker out from under his skin, and it somehow ended up inside Father MacAvoy. Anton having gone 'invisible' is troubling to Powers, and he instructs Miss Hunter to have the Techies try to maintain visual contact on Anton as much as possible.

A proximity alert quickly draws everyone's attention: Joshua Harlow and an Irishman named Eddie Cusack (Nick Rowntree) are approaching each other. The scene switches to the inside of a parking garage. Cusack knows that Joshua is closing in on him and reacts with clear nervousness. He fires wildly at an approaching shadow; Joshua warning Cusack to 'cut the shit.' He's here for information. Cusack says he's heard that someone came for Harlow in order to kill him, and he heard what happened to Joshua's wife. Joshua wants to know anything Cusack has heard about it. Cusack says that Miles Slade was the one who told him, which Cusack figures, means that Miles was either responsible, or knows for certain who was behind it.

As he speaks, Cusack creeps low to the ground among several cars, and as he looks underneath one car, he sees Joshua's feet on the other side. Carefully creeping around the car, Cusack darts out and fires several shots, only to see his bullets hit empty air. He glances down and sees Joshua's empty shoes on the ground. A second later and he hears the cocking of a pistol's hammer. Joshua fires a shot into the back of Cusack's skull and kills him.

Near a railway yard, Miles Slade fires several shots, seemingly at nothing and nobody, and mumbles something about 'one more for the trophy cabinet' as he stands near a dumpster. How crazy and sick Miles really is, becomes clear as he coaxes a stray dog over to him, lets it sniff him, and then shoots the dog in the head, before looking to one side and yawning like he's bored. As Miles walks away from the area, a human body is seen in the dumpster. the Techies quickly backtrack a nearby CCTV's footage, showing that Miles cut one finger off of the corpse; the fingers being his 'trophies.'

The special emergency line, the one phone line able to get through the scramblers, rings. One techie answers and says he'll put the call through.

Lai Lai has called in to speak to Powers. Her personal honor code dead set against the killing of innocents, she wants to see Father MacAvoy safely removed from the hazards of the tournament. But Powers coldly rebuffs Lai Lai, telling her that Father MacAvoy is simply one of many 'famous innocent bystanders' that people hear about. She can carry him if she's that set on it, or she can kill him, but she's not to call back again. As Father MacAvoy fusses nearby, he watches a brown haired woman, Lina Sofia (Rachel Grant), catching a ball thrown by two playing kids and giving it back to them, smiling. As she closes the door to her SUV, she notices him looking at her, and her smile starts to fade.

Father MacAvoy is aghast at the news that the tournament is not showing him any mercy, and the police aren't coming to help him. Lai Lai has no time to tell him anything further; Sofia is roaring straight toward them in her SUV. Grabbing Father MacAvoy, Lai Lai dives out of the phone booth just before Sofia crashes into it. As she swerves back around to head at them again, Lai Lai fires several shots. One shot hits Sofia's forward right tire, sending her SUV careening out of control. It rolls over several times before coming to a stop upside down. Sofia is trapped inside and the vehicle is burning. Lai Lai tells Father MacAvoy they have to get moving.

As Father MacAvoy looks on in horror, Sofia starts to scream frantically for help. Focusing only on the moment, Father MacAvoy runs to the vehicle to try and pull the trapped woman out to safety. But as he struggles to pull open her seat belt, Sofia grabs a pistol and smiles in satisfaction as she points it at him. But it's Lai Lai who fires first, taking Sofia out with one shot. Angrily admonishing Father MacAvoy, she pulls him along.

Lai Lai finally explains to Father MacAvoy that all the people who have tried to kill him, followed a tracking bug that he has inside him, and that the Tournament is a competition for killers and assassins where the last one standing wins. The police cannot help; as Lai Lai tells him, the tournament brass have enough money to control law enforcement bureaus and even many government officials, and that all the mayhem caused by tournament activity is explained away on the media as random acts of violence, terrorist attacks, and tragic accidents. Father MacAvoy has no time to try to rationalize all this, as Sofia's SUV explodes and they have to get moving.

Back at Tournament HQ, the Techies are a little disbelieving at Powers ordering them to add Father MacAvoy to the tournament roster as a player, but they do it. Powers makes the announcement to the spectators/bettors, placing starting odds on the priest at 500-1. Everyone laughs and applauds.

Anton continues running across rooftops, staying mobile. Meanwhile, walking through an alleyway, Father MacAvoy is freaking out as he tries to put his fingers down his throat to make himself vomit up this tracker that Lai Lai tells him he swallowed. Feeling compassion, Lai Lai tries to assure the terrified priest that he'll be okay.

A police car comes driving up, siren flashing. Father MacAvoy is relieved, until the officer stepping out of the car aims a rifle and a laser sighter paints him for a shot; the 'officer' is a Tournament player. Lai Lai checks her mobile tracker and sees the dot to prove this. But before she can react, a gunshot comes out of nowhere and takes the 'officer' down. More shots are fired, this time at Lai Lai and Father MacAvoy, as Lai Lai scrambles to the police car. She and Father MacAvoy climb inside to drive off. As Lai Lai starts the engine, Anton drops down, landing on the car's hood. Seeing him reach for handguns, Lai Lai jams on reverse and hits the gas. Anton nimbly backflips off the car hood, landing on the ground on his feet. As Lai Lai has to look over her shoulder to drive the car in reverse gear, Anton pursues, firing at her. Lai Lai fires back, Anton using the terrain to his advantage to provide himself with some degree of cover. Father MacAvoy recognizes Anton from the coffee shop that morning, tipping Lai Lai off as to how Father MacAvoy ended up with a tracker-- it was Anton's, which he cut out from under his skin.

The pursuit continues until Lai Lai finally emerges from the alleyway and has room to swerve. Anton again jumps up onto the car, but is thrown off from the swerve. Anton continues firing as Lai Lai aims the car toward him. Having no time to roll out of the car's path, he lifts his legs and braces his feet against the car's fender, letting it push him along the gravel road as he continues firing. Finally rolling aside, Anton again uses fire escapes and the natural building terrain to pick up the pursuit, but Lai Lai has too much of a lead, and drives off to safety.

In the railway yard, Joshua Harlow finds the dead body left by Miles in the dumpster; one finger cut off via Miles' cigar cutter; his trademark. Miles is seen walking into a strip bar as Joshua reloads his gun and then looks at his wedding ring. Flashbacks show Joshua and his wife happy together, then Joshua finding his wife's body, and he was going to turn his gun on himself for failure to protect her, when suddenly the phone rang, and he heard Powers' voice on the answering machine, telling Joshua that he has information on who may have wanted Joshua dead and came after him.

It's evening, and Miles is still at the strip bar, watching a bare-breasted woman dance up close near him. A brief shot of his mobile tracker shows that a number of other contestants also happen to be at the bar. The techies count a total of nine tracking dots in the strip bar, yet none of the contestants have tried to kill one another yet; probably because the bar's being so crowded makes it difficult for any shooter to tell who's who. Powers is notified about the nine-dot cluster in the bar, and he announces to the delighted spectator/bettors, "A bloodbath is about to take place."

Miles starts the bloodbath as he makes visual contact with one other contestant, noting a gun tucked in his pants waistband. As the girl continues to dance in front of him, he reaches for his rifle, and as she bends backward, he takes aim over her body and head, taking the other contestant out. The music stops and a panic quickly breaks out among the civilians and dancers in the bar. Miles continues firing, taking out at least two dancers without hesitation before gunning down another contestant. The other contestants still there are now springing into action, taking cover and trying to pick out other contestants among the rapidly dispersing crowd.

One contestant tries to spring up on Miles from behind, but the alert 'crazy man' dodges the attacks, incapacitates him hand to hand, then cocks his rifle and shoots him. A wild shootout starts to break out. Miles sees the bare-breasted dancer cowering in terror on the floor in front of him, and kills her for fun.

The remaining contestants in the bar fall into a free-for-all shootout, bullets and blood flying everywhere as several more of them are taken down. Then, from the door and stairway, a dark silhouette heralding the arrival of Joshua Harlow. Joshua wades into the war zone, grabbing a dead contestant's corpse as a human shield, using a simple revolver to take down more shooters with higher grade firepower. He calmly reloads as one shooter wildly fires an automatic rifle blindly, unable to hit the broad side of a barn with it. Finishing his reloading, Joshua fires once, killing the shooter.

Miles confronts Joshua, whooping loudly, holding a terrified woman dancer as a human shield. Joshua demands Miles tell him if he was the one who came after Joshua and killed his wife. Miles appears not to know what Joshua is talking about. At that moment, a female Tournament contestant disguised as a dancer, leaps on Joshua's back, stabbing him with a knife. Miles shoots, knocking the girl off of Joshua and knocking Joshua to the ground, wounded. The girl grabs a gun, looking to finish Joshua off, but Miles intercepts her, taking her out with his rifle. Letting his hostage go, Miles steps on Joshua's hand as he reaches for his gun again, and Miles then knocks Joshua unconscious with the butt of his rifle.

Lai Lai and Father MacAvoy continue driving through the night. Lai Lai is looking to get further out of the town, which will make the mobile trackers less accurate in picking up the tracking device signals. Father MacAvoy needs a drink, which starts up an argument over why Lai Lai is in the tournament vs. why Father MacAvoy drinks. Lai Lai takes Father MacAvoy's admission that he feels lost emotionally and spiritually, with several grains of salt, talking about her own line of work, and how killing people is just her job... and yet she didn't kill Father MacAvoy because she refuses to kill the innocent; only people she's contracted to kill, all of whom have prices on their heads for a reason.

Several flashback sequences of Joshua's wife are shown, in no particular sequence. Her putting Joshua's hand on her abdomen, smiling at him, a reverse-footage sequence of a cup that's fallen out of her hand to shatter on the floor; Joshua's wife begging fearfully for mercy as she's confronted by her killer, and her dead body accusing Joshua, "Where were you?"

Joshua snaps awake, tied to one of the dancing poles in the bar. Miles gloats about having taken down the previous tournament's champion, and shows off more of his erratic behavior by pointing out a dead body he's dressed up in a stripper's outfit, and offering Joshua a drink right out of the bottle. Joshua again confronts Miles about the death of his wife, Mary (Tamika Cameran); but Miles is distracted by the groaning sounds of a random victim fo the bloodbath who's still alive, albeit greivously wounded. Miles goes over to the victim and starts beating him with the butt of his rifle, giving Joshua time to start preparing to turn the tables. Finding that a screw holding the pole in place is loose, Joshua partially unscrews it, to where he can start using the threading on the screw to cut his ropes.

Turning his attention back to Joshua, Miles tells him that he should blame himself for his wife's death if he wasn't there to protect her... and then, making a big shot of the announcement, Miles tells Joshua he wasn't he one who killed Mary. When Joshua demands that Miles not lie to him, Miles slips behind Joshua and uses his cigar cutter to lop off one of Joshua's fingers, both for the sick fun of it, and because Joshua called him a kid. Pressing his burning cigar tip against the bloody stump to torture Joshua, Miles then says he knows who did it. Making another big show of the whole announcement, Miles tells Joshua that Lai Lai Zhen came after Joshua, and she killed Joshua's wife.

Joshua flatly states he doesn't believe the announcement, and suddenly says he'd like to accept Miles' offer of a drink. Miles happily indulges Joshua, letting him take a generous swig from the bottle. Before shooting Joshua, Miles takes a moment to re-light his cigar... and just as the flame is near the cigar, Joshua regurgitates the alcohol and spits it right at Miles' face, causing it to ignite from the flame of the cigar lighter. Joshua then kicks the half-full bottle at Miles, and it shatters on his body, setting the crazy killer on fire. Joshua finishes cutting himself free on the threading of the loose screw, and grabs up Miles' rifle, shooting at him several times through a wooden bar. Darting around to get a clear shot, however, Joshua finds that Miles made a slippery escape through a cellar hatch in the floor behind the bar; his tracking dot on Joshua's tracker, rapidly moving away. Joshua finds a set of keys left abandoned on the bar and grabs them up, using a signal device on the ring to pinpoint the vehicle they belong to: a big eighteen wheel chemical rig. Climbing into the cab, Joshua drives off.

A montage is shown of Tournament contestants finding and killing each other in various gory displays. It's late in the evening, with fewer than six hours on the countdown timer. As the number of remaining contestants drops precipitously, and the body count continues to climb, Joshua and Lai Lai drive on through the night down highways, and Anton Bogart watches his tracker monitor.

Lai Lai pulls into a gas station, goes into the convenience store and grabs a package of Ex-lax laxatives, with the idea that they might help flush the tracker out of Father MacAvoy. Meanwhile, in the car, Father MacAvoy again prays for strength, before suddenly blurting out that he needs a drink. Happening to glance toward the open glove compartment suddenly, he finds a flask and looks upward in thanks. He grabs the flask and takes a big swig. He hears the car door open and close, and turns to the driver's side, thinking Lai Lai has returned... but it's Miles sitting there, holding a knife to Father MacAvoy's face; Miles is badly burned but very much alive.

But Lai Lai has spotted Miles and rushed out to Father MacAvoy's defense. As the two assassins battle, a monitor display behind powers lights up with several CCTV angles as Powers eggs on the spectator/bettors to place bets on the aggrieved combatants, pointing out that a major player will fall.

The convenience store clerk, listening to music through earplugs and watching macaroni and cheese heat up in his microwave, is oblivious to the battle even after Lai Lai hurls Miles through the glass door and takes the battle right into the store itself. Miles proves woefully inadequate in unarmred combat, barely able to hold off Lai Lai as she tears into him with punches and kicks.

Father MacAvoy takes a last swig from the flask before hurrying into the convenience store, where Miles has managed to grab Lai Lai by the throat and pull a knife. As Lai Lai struggles to hold the weapon at Bay, Miles taunts her by saying that Joshua is really angry at her, now that he knows that she killed Joshua's wife. The taunt sets off a nerve in Lai Lai, and she renews her counterattack with redoubled ferocity. She hurls Miles to the ground, pulls the knife from his grasp and buries it to the hilt in his shoulder. Before she can get off a shot from her gun, however, Father MacAvoy pleads for Lai Lai to stop. Lai Lai hesitates, holding off on killing Miles, much to the displeasure of the spectator/bettors watching the scene on the big screen monitors behind Powers.

The clerk's microwave goes off, and he pulls out his bowl, turning around and staring in disbelief at what's been behind him. Back in the control center, Techie Eddie says into his headset, "He said what?"

A strange beeping noise starts up, growing faster as Miles starts to writhe about wildly and scream in confusion and fear. Suddenly his tracking device detonates, making a big gory mess, spraying Lai Lai, Father MacAvoy, and the disbelieving convenience store clerk, with blood.

The convenience store's phone suddenly starts to ring. Still in a daze, the clerk answers, and then tells Father MacAvoy that the call is for him.

Father MacAvoy gets on the phone to find Powers talking to him. Powers tells the befuddled priest that since he interrupted what could have been a spectacular kill, he needs to be reminded of 'the rules of the game.' Powers points out that four hours remain in the tournament, and Father MacAvoy just witnessed proof that the tracking device is much more than just that. He needs to kill if he wants to live-- should the countdown timer reach zero with more than one Tournament contestant still living, all of them will meet a similar fate as just befell Miles.

Father MacAvoy sits on the john hoping for the laxative to take effect and eject the tracker out of his body. Lai Lai sits in the adjacent stall, waiting. As they wait, Father MacAvoy asks Lai Lai about Joshua's wife. Lai Lai rebuffs him, her voice becoming defensive, showing she doesn't want to talk about it. Father MacAvoy tells her about Catholic confession, and how difficult it can be, but well-worth it in his opinion.

Lai Lai gives in, and she begins to talk to Father MacAvoy about her last job. This last job has slowly crushed her conscience and left her distraught. She explains how, as she confronts targets she's contracted to kill, the last thing she usually sees in their eyes is a look of understanding, of resignation to their fate. A look that bears her little ill-will for killing them. The last person she killed, Mary Harlow, gave Lai Lai a look of stark bewilderment and fear as she begged for her life. A look of complete lack of understanding why Lai Lai was there to kill her. Several months after she killed Mary Harlow, Lai Lai learned that Mary was pregnant. On learning this, Lai Lai became increasingly haunted by the killing. Talking to Father MacAvoy about it brings Lai Lai to tears, and it is now he who is comforting and counseling her as best he can. Lai Lai explains to Father MacAvoy that she's in the tournament with one goal in mind: to vanish. She wants out of the assassin business, and the tournament can help her disappear in one of two ways. If she wins, the money can buy her a new identity and anonymity to live the rest of her life in peace. If she loses, then as she says vacantly, she'll 'get what's coming to her.'

Back in the control room, Techie Eddie notifies Miss Hunter that the last five contestants seem to be converging on the motorway. Joshua Harlow and "Long Shot" Carl Topuzov, are closing in on the gas station where Lai Lai and Father MacAvoy still are, and CCTV's are allowing manual and visual tracking of Anton Bogart, who's also closing in. Lai Lai sees the tracking dots converging on her tracker display, and she shows the display to Father MacAvoy, saying they have to leave.

Lai Lai and Father MacAvoy hurry toward the stolen police squad car, stopping short as they spot Joshua driving the chemical rig. As Joshua drives past, they make another bid for the car when suddenly Topuzov, on a motorcycle, stops in the middle of the motorway and aims a rocket launcher. The heat sensor on the launcher gets a lock on Lai Lai's body heat signature, and he's ready to make te kill, when suddenly an onrushing passenger bus runs Topuzov down. The rocket is launched straight up into the air, flying around wildly before finally diving down and taking out the stolen squad car. Joshua is alerted to the increasing chaos and makes a big turn, crossing over the dividing island onto the other side of the motorway. The driver of the passenger bus has stopped and exited the vehicle to check on Topuzov. Seeing this, and seeing Joshua closing in again, Lai Lai hijacks the bus, leaving Father MacAvoy to "learn fast!" on how to drive it... all the passengers, sound asleep, still inside.

Joshua sees Lai Lai and Father MacAvoy pulling away in the bus and speeds up to catch them. He pulls up alongside the bus, and he and Lai Lai exchange gunfire through the windows; the bus passengers quickly waking up and scrambling to get down on the bus floor. Joshua is hit in the arm by one of Lai Lai's bullets, and he has to redouble his efforts to stay straight on the road before losing control of his rig. Roaring in anger, Joshua rams the bus twice, and then speeds up more, looking to pull in front of it. Lai Lai fires twice more, puncturing the huge chemical tank of the rig. Joshua pulls in front of the bus and hits the brakes; Father MacAvoy barely managing to swerve wide to avoid crashing into the back of the rig and rush past it on the right side. As the aggrieved road battle continues, the techies note Anton Bogart watching his tracker display as he waits on a bridge... one that the two big vehicles are fast approaching.

Father MacAvoy sees Anton atop the bridge and alerts Lai Lai, who must keep her focus on Joshua... until the bus passes under the bridge, and Anton jumps down off the far side, landing right on the roof of the bus. This gets Lai Lai's attention, and she fires through the roof of the bus, Anton running along the roof to avoid the gunfire. Lai Lai moves toward the back of the bus in pursuit, but makes a critical mistake when she draws too close to the rear window. Grabbing a metal bar along the back of the bus, Anton does a vault off the roof and swings into a double thrust kick through the window, knocking Lai Lai for a loop and making her drop her gun. On the road, Joshua rams the bus from the side again.

Lai Lai gets to her feet and fights Anton hand to hand, but the Frenchman, fresher from being largely out of the action, outfights her and knocks her further down the aisle of the bus, while Joshua continues ramming it from the side; both vehicles careening wildly down the road at high speed. Smaller sedans and cars are knocked indiscriminately to the side by the onrushing behemoths. Inside the bus, Anton is using the passenger poles to execute gymnastic attacks that continue knocking Lai Lai from pillar to post. A swinging double kick aided by a pole clobbers her from the blind side and sends her crashing through the window of the bus' upper deck. Paying little if any attention to this battle, Joshua focuses on trying to stop the bus and continues to ram it with his rig, trying to force it off the motorway.

Hanging from a metal bar along the outside of the bus, Lai Lai sees Joshua crush a passenger car between his rig and the bus. She pulls another gun and fires at him, but the bullets bounce off the thicker parts of the cab. Lai Lai shouts for Father MacAvoy to open the bus door so she can get back inside and on a stable footing in the bus' lower deck. Father MacAvoy smacks wildly on the various bus controls, finally managing to find the door control. Lai Lai swings inside the bus just before Joshua rams at that spot, narrowly missing crushing her against the side of the bus. Father MacAvoy drives past another eighteen-wheeler, forcing Joshua to hit the brakes and fall behind.

Recovering her second gun, Lai Lai fires up through the ceiling into the upper deck of the bus. Anton backs away, returning fire through the upper deck's floor. Lai Lai runs toward the rear of the bus in pursuit, when suddenly Anton crashes through the upper deck's rear window and hangs on with his legs; his upper body dangling down to poke through the lower deck's broken rear window. Both of Anton's pistols and both of Lai Lai's pistols are aimed point-blank at each other-- but Lai Lai is out of ammunition. Anton has caught her completely unprepared and off-guard. Lai Lai looks at death. He has her cold, and there's nothing she can do.

But Father MacAvoy can. He slams a foot down on the brakes, bringing the bus to a sharp, skidding stop, pitching Lai Lai off her feet and skidding along the aisle back toward the front of the bus. A second later, Joshua's oil rig, still barreling down the road at full speed, plows into the rear of the bus, crushing Anton to death between the rig and the bus. Father MacAvoy then steps on the gas pedal again, bringing the bus lurching forward. One of the tires on the chemical rig blows, and Joshua loses control of the rig and it tips over, rolling over onto its side and skidding across the road before the chemical tank ignites, bursting into flame. Father MacAvoy brings the bus to a stop again. Looking back at the burning rig, Father MacAvoy is in horror. Lai Lai slumped beside the driver's seat, covers his hand with a look of gratitude, telling him that he saved her life. Father MacAvoy leans over and throws up; the vomit bringing the tracker out of his body. Losing contact with his body heat signature, the tracker deactivates.

Tn the Tournament show room, the mood continues to intensify. As Father MacAvoy's tracker deactivates, the techies confirm to Powers that both Anton and Father MacAvoy are down. Powers asks for an update on Joshua. We see the burning rig on the road, and Joshua's bloody hand reaches up; Joshua grunting loudly. The Tournament is down to two contestants: Joshua Harlow and Lai Lai Zhen. Adding to the pressure is that the twenty-four hours alloted for the Tournament to produce a winner, are almost up.

Only fifteen minutes remain on the clock as Lai Lai and Father MacAvoy trudge through a field of high grass; Lai Lai limping and favoring one leg as Father MacAvoy helps keep her steady. Lai Lai begs Father MacAvoy to leave her and return to civilization; her body is battered and fatigued, and she suffers from both physical and mental exhaustion, leaving her unable to further protect him. But Father MacAvoy says that after she stayed with him through all that's happened, never leaving his side, he's now determined to stay by hers. Little by little the paradigms have shifted, and they've crossed into where Lai Lai is at her most vulnerable, and Father MacAvoy is at his strongest.

The two find a church, which Lai Lai notes has no CCTV cameras inside. The two will be safe from Tournament scrutiny inside.

Miss Hunter notes this with furious anger; surveillance satellites cannot monitor indoors either. When the Techies note a proximity alert, and that Joshua Harlow is closing in on Lai Lai, they put together a satellite display of the terrain and overlay the tracker signals, so that the bettors/spectators for the tournament can at least see that the last two contestants of the Tournament are just shy of the final confrontation. The tournament timer reaches five minutes and counting. Powers announces that if neither Joshua nor Lai Lai eliminate the other to win, and both of their trackers detonate, the Tournament hosting will pay out on Joshua, as the continuing favorite.

Meanwhile, safe from Tournament cameras, Lai Lai and Father MacAvoy sit on pews. In desperate need of solace and guidance, Lai Lai asks Father MacAvoy to pray with her.

But it's a decidedly dark angel who comes to answer the prayer: Joshua Harlow grabs Lai Lai and pins her against the pulpit, holding a knife ready to cut out her entrails. A mere 24 hours ago, Lai Lai would have been able to disarm him of the knife and cut his throat with it before he could blink. But her strength has left her, and she's beyond exhausted, with no fight left in her at all; she begs Joshua to just kill her and get it over with. It's Father MacAvoy who comes to her defense, trying to use his skill with words to appease Joshua.

Joshua wants to know one thing: who sent Lai Lai to kill him, and why. Whoever ordered the hit on Joshua was ultimately responsible for his wife's death.

Meanwhile, in the Tournament show room, all the bettors, Powers, Miss Hunter and the Techies watch the screens and monitors with baited breath. Both Joshua and Lai Lai's trackers continue to show them in the same immediate vicinity. Time continues to rapidly run out for both remaining participants to produce a single winner and Tournament champion, before their trackers both detonate.

In the church, Lai Lai stuns Joshua with the last thing he ever expected to hear: nobody sent her to kill him; nobody put a hit on his head. Joshua's long held assumption that Mary was eliminated as a witness to his intended assassination, was incorrect. The hit contract was on his wife all along; Mary was the target, the one wanted killed. Moreover, as Lai Lai tells Joshua, he knows who ordered Mary's death; there's only one person it could be.

Joshua is incredulous and not entirely believing of Lai Lai's story, and he's completely outraged. Father MacAvoy desperately pleads for Joshua not to 'honor' Mary's being his life, with death, and to think of what Mary would want him to do.

Joshua suddenly bends over Lai Lai; driving his knife into her body. On the monitors at the Tournament show room, Lai Lai's tracker deactivates. The countdown timer stops at just under four seconds left. Everyone breaks into cheers and applause as Powers declares Joshua Harlow a two-time Tournament champion. As Joshua steps out of the church, a limousine pulls up, and a passenger door opens, to bring Joshua back to headquarters and into the show room.

As Joshua staggers into the show room, he's greeted by cheers, applause and all the pomp and circumstance befitting a two-time champion. But as he's handed a glass of champagne, he shows he's in no mood to celebrate; he spills the champagne out onto the floor and hurls the glass at Powers. Climbing onto the betting table and staggering across it, Joshua confronts Powers with what he knows: Powers is the one who hired Lai Lai for a hit contract on Mary Harlow. Powers is the one who wanted Joshua's wife killed. Joshua demands that Powers tell him why.

After a moment trying to deny the crime and convince Joshua that he's going crazy from the stress of the Tournament, Powers gives in and tells Joshua the cold truth. The hit was ordered as a means of motivating Joshua to participate in the Tournament in the first place. By hiring an assassin to kill Joshua's wife; an assassin who was enrolling in the Tournament-- Powers could be assured that Joshua would also enroll. As the last reigning Tournament champion, Joshua was a solid draw for big bets, large sums of money, and maximum entertainment for the bettors. Joshua would have refused to participate in the Tournament had Powers simply invited him. He, too, was looking to leave the business and begin a new, peaceful life. Powers refused to accept this, and handed Joshua the one thing that would make him enter the Tournament: a revenge vendetta.

Powers tells Joshua not to worry, for he'll be seeing his wife soon. But Joshua counters with a biting retort that both he and Powers will be seeing Mary again soon. Grabbing Powers in a Japanese headlock, Joshua pries Powers' mouth open and pushes something inside.

Immediately, Lai Lai's tracker signal lights back up on the monitors. Miss Hunter and the Techies realize with horror that Joshua cut the tracker out of Lai Lai's body. Now, pushed into Powers' mouth, it's come back into contact with a human body heat signature and reactivated. With the monitors and computers once again registering two Tournament participants, the stopped countdown timer, with only four seconds left on it, resumes counting down. Everyone in the show room scrambles out, diving for any cover they can find as Joshua holds Powers fast, using an iron hand to keep the tracker in his mouth. The countdown finishes, and both Joshua and Powers' trackers detonate, killing both of them in a grisly explosion that sends money flying everywhere.

A flashback scene is shown of Father MacAvoy holding Lai Lai in his arms as she lay on the church floor, and slowly her eyes open. When Joshua cut the tracker out of her body, he spared Lai Lai's life.

A short montage of TV reports gives a series of fabricated excuses to explain away the death and destruction wrought in Middlesbrough by the Tournament.

Father MacAvoy delivers a moving sermon to a group of churchgoers, speaking about the tribulations the town has gone through, and yet they are now all renewed, feeling reborn. As he speaks, he happens to glance toward the rear pews where a woman in a black dress and hat sits, listening. Slowly the woman raises her head; it's Lai Lai. She smiles at Father MacAvoy as he speaks with passion and conviction. Father MacAvoy happens to look away for a brief moment, and when he returns his gaze to where Lai Lai was sitting, she's now gone. Father MacAvoy calls the congregation to prayer, and we fade to black.
Page last updated by looker1010az, 2 years ago
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