In a twisted social experiment, eighty Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.
Mike Milch, an employee of Belko Industries, while driving to work is stopped by street vendors selling "lucky" handmade dolls. Barry Norris, also of Belko Industries, arrives at the remote office building in rural Bogotá, Colombia, to find unfamiliar security guards turning away the local Colombian staff at the gate. New employee Dany Wilkins reports for her first day on the job and is told that a tracking device is implanted in the base of every Belko employee's skull in case they are kidnapped. This is explained as being common in Colombia due to the high incidences of kidnapping.
A movie that's been done 100 times, but passes the time adequately.
Eighty American workers in Bogota get locked inside their office building and an announcement over the intercom gives them half an hour to kill any two of the employees. When they don't comply, the rules are amped up, and an American Battle Royale (down to the 'collars') ensues.
The Belko Experiment managed to accomplish the difficult feat of never being boring, not even for a minute. It takes almost no time getting going, and at any given moment it is either action packed, or taking a break from action and descending into dark humour. Both of these were well-executed, with one particularly memorable action piece (the end of round 2, so pretty), and a spattering of interesting side characters, a lot of them hilarious in either attitude or demeanor. With that, it managed to entertain throughout, making it worth seeing.
However, where it fails is originality. The Battle Royale formula has been done time and time again, and here we get the straightest form of it, with zero deviation from the norm and zero unique perspective. Where a movie like Circle tries to infuse some kind of basic examinations of social themes, here there is no higher level to the killings. And for this, the movie never once surprises with a thought or an event. The characters are just shells of people; the bad guys are caricatures of evil, the protagonists of good. There is never ambiguity of character, in a movie where so much moral ambiguity should be present due to the situation. So from minute one you know exactly who will be a villain and who will be a hero, and the end game is obvious from the start. It's a waiting game for the movie to arrive where you know it is going, which makes it very unsatisfying once the action is over.
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