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Greg McLean
John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley, Michael Rooker
Writing Credits:
James Gunn

In a twisted social experiment, 80 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.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/27/2017
• 8 Deleted Scenes
• “Rules of the Game” Featurette
• “Lee Hardcastle’s Survival Tips” Featurette
• Gallery
• Trailer and Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Belko Experiment [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 11, 2017)

From a script by Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, 2017’s The Belko Experiment takes us to an office environment in Bogota, Colombia. There we meet the folks who work at Belko Industries, a crew led by COO Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn).

As the day starts, the Colombian employees get sent home, and this leaves only Americans at Belko. A mysterious voice (Gregg Henry) eventually tells the remaining workers that they must participate in a ruthless “game” that will leave most of them dead. This leads to a violent spree in which the participants must confront their morals in this “kill or be killed” environment.

When I saw Gunn’s involvement in Belko, I felt some confidence it’d rise over its basic “torture porn” feel. Sure, Belko looked like something from the Eli Roth factory, but with a notable like Gunn behind it, the movie had to give us something higher quality, right?

Nope, not really. On occasion, Belko musters some drama, but the overall result seems trite and less than involving.

Most of the movie’s successes occur during its first act. Belko manages to set up its premise reasonably well, and the scenes that initially explore the “experiment” manage to give us moderate tension.

Before long, however, the story’s inherent thinness becomes a drawback. Belko draws its characters in vague ways, partly due to the running time, as 89 minutes doesn’t leave room for more than basics when it comes to such a large cast.

I understand these restrictions, but I still think Belko could – and should – have done more to back up its participants. We know so little about the various personalities that we fail to attach to any of them in a meaningful manner.

Because of this, the movie’s main calling card comes from the aforementioned “torture porn”. Belko delivers a slew of ways to slay people – some creative, some not, but all gory as can be. That seems to be the film’s main “appeal”, as ala the slasher flicks of the 1980s, viewers may “enjoy” the variety of kills and other violent elements.

I can’t say these do anything for me. To be sure, I don’t object to graphic violence in films, but I’d like to see something of substance come from those scenes. In Belko, the gore simply feels gratuitous and mindless, as the filmmakers don’t imbue the story with enough substance to give the mayhem a meaningful backdrop.

After that fairly effective opening, this leaves Belko as a blunt, boring exploration of gore. The tension evaporates due to the monotony of the violence and the absence of interesting characters. Despite promising moments, Belko winds up as a bloody snoozer that fails to impart the social commentary it clearly aspires to deliver.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

The Belko Experiment appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not great, the movie usually looked attractive.

Sharpness was mostly solid. A few wider shots and interiors showed a little softness, but those instances remained minor. Instead, the majority of the movie seemed accurate and concise.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as I witnessed no specks, marks or other debris.

Colors were fine, as the film opted for a fairly teal palette and the Blu-ray replicated these tones in an appropriate manner. Black levels were reasonably deep, and shadows seemed clear and well-rendered. Across the board, the visuals proved to be pleasing.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Belko suited the story pretty well but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion.

It's a talky little movie for the most part so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary. Music broadened well, and effects occasionally used the spectrum in a satisfying way via elements like general violence. None of this gave us a consistently active track, but it had its moments.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. Music was warm and distinctive, and effects also seemed realistic and more than adequate for the tasks at hand. All of this made the mix a solid “B”.

We find a handful of extras here, and we start with two featurettes. Rules of the Game goes for nine minutes, 56 seconds and offers remarks from writer/producer James Gunn, director Greg McLean, producer Peter Safran, and actors Tony Goldwyn, John Gallagher Jr., and Adria Arjona.

We learn about the movie’s roots and development, story/characters, and McLean’s impact as director. “Rules” lacks great depth, but it’s more interesting than the usual short featurette.

Lee Hardcastle’s Survival Tips runs two minutes, 37 seconds and presents quirky but super-violent Claymation advertisements for the film. The stop-motion style makes them more fun than most promos.

Eight Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 19 seconds. The most prominent addition involves Mike’s capture and eventual escape, bits that offer a little extra action. The various scenes don’t add much of real interest, though.

A Gallery gives us a collection of stills. We see 12 shots from the production in this brief, fairly insubstantial batch of photos.

The disc opens with ads for Logan, A Cure for Wellness and Morgan. Sneak Peeks adds a promo for Shut In, and we also get a trailer for Belko.

Gifted with a provocative premise, The Belko Experiment boasted the potential to deliver a tight thriller. Instead, it opted for a whole lot of gore and little else. The Blu-ray brings us generally good picture and audio as well as a handful of supplements. Belko turns into a limp experience in torture porn.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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