From James Gunn, the writer and director of Guardians of the Galaxy (Volumes One and Two!) comes the twisted social experiment known as The Belko Experiment. Eighty employees of the Belko company arrive for work one morning, and are locked in their office building. An anonymous voice comes over the PA system telling them that they have to kill thirty of their co-workers in an hour, and if they don’t sixty of them will be killed instead. Some of the workers try to hide, some try to escape, and some turn violent. Factions are formed, leaders are chosen, and people die. When some of the workers try to make contact with the outside world one of their heads is remotely blown up, proving this experiment is not just a game.
The Belko Experiment was graphic, violent, suspenseful but also repetitive. Was it realistic though? Were these the reactions people would have in this admittedly absurd situation? Yeah, it was probably pretty accurate. James Gunn apparently came up with the idea for the script in a dream, and if this is what his dreams are made of, I’m worried about the possibilities in his nightmares. He did a great job on the characters and there were a lot of recognizable actors involved with the project. You liked some of them and you hated some of them. John C. McGinley was especially rotten in the movie, and it was great to see his character die. Gunn’s brother Sean has a nice little role, as does fellow Guardians of the Galaxy “Reaver”, Michael Rooker. Tony Goldwyn was the boss in the film, and even though he could have been considered the bad guy, the cleverness of the script makes you wonder, as he was doing everything he did for his own survival.
My only complaint about The Belko Experiment was that it was a little slow because of the great character development. I would almost have preferred it just went to the crazy action right away. The action when it did happen was pretty crazy, and the effects were quite good for what is clearly an elevated indie film. The final scene was pretty predictable, from who would be the sole survivor, to how they would deal with their captors. Still, it was quite entertaining and a nice release. When I first heard of The Belko Experiment I was told it was going to be like Battle Royale meets Office Space, which I immediately made me think of the movie Operation: Endgame. In that film a team of spies have to kill each other in their own office building, using whatever they have around them, I was very glad that Belko wasn’t just another film like that. It was thought out very well, and was a lot more intelligent than you would think. Dark beyond belief, it won’t be for everyone, but I did enjoy it.
Bottom Line: I was very surprised to see Belko was put out by Orion Pictures, I had no idea that name was still around!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the most anticipated Marvel movie of the year…until the next one was teased. The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was a huge and unexpected success. Those sorts of films are hard to follow up on, and the pressure to recapture lightning in a bottle is incredible, fortunately James Gunn was up to the task.
Our band of spacefaring misfits are at it again, now they’re charged by the Nova Corps to safeguard the universe…. or to guard the galaxy. This time though, we get some more backstory to the characters, and a few of the mysteries from “Vol. 1” are answered. Learn! how Star Lord, a seemingly ordinary human was able to handle an infinity stone! See! the development of a recently resurrected Floral Colossus! Discover! the secret of Peter’s father! Watch! as Taserface hunts down the Guardians for the Sovereign! Shudder! as there could be a traitor in the ranks of the Guardians! Cry! as certain key characters actually don’t survive the movie! Laugh! at the excellent banter between the Guardians! Be amazed! Be amused! Be entertained! Because that’s what the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is really all about.
I managed to make it out to the theatre with my brother to see Guardians Volume 2, and we were the only two people there. Granted, we did go rather late into the run, and we went to the late show on a Sunday night. The nice thing about being the only two people in the entire theatre was that we could talk about the film freely without upsetting anyone. Of course we did switch off our cell phones, we’re not animals. We didn’t actually talk that much, but it was nice to be able to say “wow” or ask what something was, or comment or predict/guess something without getting nasty looks.
Guardians Volume 2 was a wacky, funny, action packed, fun, popcorn flick. And I liked it just fine that way. New characters were introduced, new ideas, and new locations in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The banter and humour was constant and well done once again. The special effects were excellent, and everything seemed to have been amped up to at least equal the first film. All the main characters delivered exactly what I expected, and I even managed to enjoy Karen Gillan this time around, something that didn’t really happen last time. Michael Rooker’s Yondu got an expanded role in the sequel, and it was quickly rewarded with an excellent, almost standout, performance. There may have been a few too many characters, and sadly, once a movie or a franchise becomes popular, all sorts of “big name” actors come out of the woodwork and are thrust into roles they might not normally take. I enjoyed Pom Klementieff as Mantis, and Kurt Russell was really good as Ego, Peter Quill’s father, but I thought that Sylvester Stallone was just kind of thrust in there, with little explanation. Apparently his character is supposed to be big in future movies, but I, a rather big comic book nerd, had no idea who he was, or why I should care about him, or even agree with Stallone being cast. All that aside, you can tell James Gunn really enjoys his job, the characters and everything about the Guardians of the Galaxy, and ultimately so did I.
Bottom Line: Even though it’s one of the better selling soundtracks in recent years, I think I like “Awesome Mix-tape Vol. 1” better than Volume 2. Sure Mr. Blue Sky by E.L.O. was nice, The Chain by Fleetwood Mac was great, and I loved George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord and Come A Little Bit Closer by Jay and the Americans is one of my all-time favourite songs, but the rest of the arrangement didn’t wow me as much. Ah well, still a really good soundtrack.