Review: The Belko Experiment



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What a waste of potential this one turned out to be.  Do not – I repeat – do not waste your money on this film.

I’d like to say I could find something redeeming about it, but as I sat at the top of the theater growing bored first and then angry, I struggled to come up with anything positive.  I mean, the acting is fine, I guess, though these actors are given so little to work with its amazing any of them signed on in the first place.  I guess John C. McGinley’s “Scrubs” money has all dried up.

McGinley is just one of 80 employees of Belko Industries, who are put on lockdown with an order to kill one another by a mysterious intercom voice.  Belko is a non-profit corporation that places Americans in Colombia and gives them a company car, an apartment, and more perks than most for profit businesses.  As an employee at a non-profit company, this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of – and I’m not sure why they made sure to say it was a “non-profit” firm to begin with.  But this is just in a long line of ridiculous plot points that never found resolution in this very stupid and poorly written movie (I won’t give it the dignity of being called a “film.”)

Of these 80 employees, about a dozen or so have enough screen time to suggest we are to care about their fates.  The problem with the script is that not only are we never given a reason to care about any of them, we also aren’t sure who we’re supposed to root for.  Oh, we know that John Gallagher Jr.’s character, “Mike,” is the unlikely hero, but he doesn’t do anything heroic other than verbalize that killing the other people trapped inside the high-rise is a bad idea.  I guess we’re supposed to root for his girlfriend, but all we really know about her is that she and Mike make out at the office sometimes and she puts up with creepy advances from McGinley’s character, Wendell.  There’s familiar face, Brent Sexton, who’s natural charisma and presence is wasted.  Abraham Benrubi, another interesting character actor, who spends his time following around a potentially psychotic Sean Gunn as they empty out water coolers in case the water is making everyone psychotic. It’s a plot point that makes no sense.

Had this film taken its time to develop the characters, given an interesting rationale for the experiment we’re witnessing, or spent any energy at all on the moral conflict of Tony Goldwyn’s character between saving his own life at the expense of his employees, then this could have been a decent movie.  Instead we get graphic exploding heads, excessive gun violence, and one of the most unsatisfying conclusions to a story I’ve seen in a very long time.

There’s a suggestion that this could be the first in a series of films; let’s hope someone comes to their senses and says no, no, no, no, no.

It’s not surprising that Hollywood just keeps remaking the same old stuff over and over if this is the kind of drivel they’re getting from screenwriters like James Gunn.  (I’m terrified of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which he also penned, after seeing this.)

In case there’s any question, this is the worst movie I’ve seen in a very long time.  Do not waste your money, your time, or the gas it would take you to drive to the theater.  I hated it.

 

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