Quickie 17 – The Belko Experiment (2016)

or “Don’t It Make My White Collar Red”

Tonight’s trek through the intestines of white collar terror takes us into a mash-up of paper pushing office antics and a last-person-standing lethal lockdown, as written by the infamous James Gunn! To be honest, I NEVER would have thought he’d get a job working for Disney in the first place, given his Tromatic gross-out coming out, Tromeo & Juliet. Is the House of Mouse lax on their background checks, or did they just think Gunn had made a typo on his resume?

“At the end of the day, people are out for themselves.”

In a little out-of-the-way acre of rural Colombia, American corporation Belko Industries has established a big ol’ office building in the ass-butt middle of nowhere. On the morning our movie initiates, all native staffers on the payroll have been turned away by soldier-style security officers wielding military bullet barfers who refuse to acknowledge the drones’ queries. The only employees allowed to clock in are the 80 Americans who were transplanted in by the home office, including Mike (the group’s Tim/Jim non-union equivalent), who seems to be the only one concerned about the situation. Yeah, he’s pretty much guaranteeing himself to be our main protagonist. That, and he’s the only one who seems to be dipping his pen in the company ink (i.e. Dany, his personal Dawn/Pam) and has a creepy workplace nemesis (Gareth/Dwight) in the toothy grinning visage of Wendell. All hallmarks of the modern day cubicle hero.

Before you can say “The Hunger Games is just a crappy rip-off of Battle Royale!”, a mysterious voice booms over the building’s intercom, informing everyone that they are now trapped within the structure and have to choose two people among them to offer up as sacrifices to their corporate overlords, lest four of them be murdered at random for their non-compliance. The wage monkeys gather and try to figure out a way to escape while debating the legitimacy of the threat, only to discover the pants pissing permanence of their peril when the foretold foursome of expendable employees have the backs of their heads renovated for increased airflow!

You know why you never allow anybody, ESPECIALLY the people who sign your paychecks, to implant any type of technology onto your being? Because despite their claims that it’s only there as a tracking beacon in the unfortunate instance of someone’s abduction, it’s ALWAYS a miniature fucking bomb!

Realizing the severity of their situation, the standard breakdown of polite society is initiated and the bloodthirsty bosses up the ante to THIRTY bodies next, threatening to kill SIXTY randoms this time if their quota isn’t met! Tribalism and power struggles are the special of the day as some continue to insist there must be a way out and others attempt to weaponize anything within arms reach. Conflict is had, blood is spilled, and the countdown to extinction is set to Maximum Overdrive!

…Well, “Moderate Overdrive” would probably be more apropos. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean.

Much like Train to Busan made a name for itself in zombie flicks by opting for a change of scenery from its peers, The Belko Experiment takes the Battle Royale formula into its own little niche, making the cutthroat corporate world a bit more literal. Rather than wide open spaces of exploding faces, the tension intensifies when our average Joes and Joans become prisoners in an eight story mass grave of concrete and steel. I would’ve enjoyed a bit more creativity from our desperate contestants in the way of DIY death dealers, but I also can’t flaw the logical lengths we’re given as the assailants go for practicality over innovation.

The characters come from a melting pot of backgrounds, mirroring the mandatory diversity reflected in the modern workplace, while keeping older white guys at the top of the metaphorical food chain just like they generally remain in real life. A sad state of affairs for sure, and this is coming FROM an aging white guy. Cunts.

The potential for a sequel is shoved in our faces at the finale, and this is a coconut cream pie I’d gladly take to the mug if the creators behind it manage to bake it. The movie’s box office more than doubled its meager $5 million budget, but with Jimmy Firearmm currently piling his plate with both Suicide Squad 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, I have a feeling he may not be back to Belko for the foreseeable future. I give it another 3 years at least. Here’s to hoping it’ll be worth the wait!

Moral of the Story: Always have a plan to take down your co-workers if the need ever arises. It worked for Batman in Justice League: Doom. Well, it worked for the Legion of Doom using Batman’s contingency plans, but the point still stands – if it’s good enough for Batman, it’s good enough for you!

Final Judgment:

Four stolen boxes of paper clips out-of-Five

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