A group of the world's most powerful men congregate every few years to bet on the ultimate grudge match. Assassins, murderers and psychopaths all compete in a battle to the death with the last one alive claiming a huge cash prize. With each contestant implanted with an explosive tracking device that will ignite if there's no winner within 24 hours, the stakes are high and the resultant bloodbath lays waste to the town that unwittingly hosts the macabre event. This year it's Middlesbrough, and as priest Father Joseph MacAvoy (Carlyle) gets caught up in the melee after accidentally swallowing one of the devices, Chinese assassin Lai Lai Zhen (Hu) takes him under her wing. As the man overseeing the twisted tournament, Mr Powers (Liam Cunningham), begins taking bets on MacAvoy, the competition's last winner, Joshua Harlow (Rhames) returns to settle a score.
Middlesbrough might not seem like the ideal place for a Battle Royale-style dust-up, but debut director Mann makes the most of his locations and limited budget to get a lot of bloody action on the screen. There's barely a scene in which some poor innocent bystander's head isn't exploding in a shower of meaty chunks, and if you were weaned on Grand Theft Auto you may appreciate the indiscriminate carnage.
Mann's biggest coup is his impressive cast, which also includes bouncy parkour expert Sebastien Foucan (Casino Royale) and Lost star Somerhalder, who plays a stripper-shotgunning Texan psycho. Heavyweights like Carlyle and Rhames can't quite cover up the hackneyed nature of the film's premise, however, but Middlesbrough's tourist board probably won't be complaining too loudly.