Runtime: 104 Mins
What To Expect: Superior sequel, but still an average movie
I didn’t much care for the original Purge movie. It had issues but my main problem was the intruders, the people besieging the house, hanging out on the front lawn. For that, they cast a bunch of catwalk models who were about as intimidating as a bowl of cold soup. Sorry, but if Rhys Wakefield shows up on your lawn with a bunch of young girls threatening your family, merely opening the door should see them off. Harsh language might be necessary otherwise. Now if they’d cast Ed Harris, leading a group of people like, I dunno, Kevin Durand, then maybe that would’ve worked. But anyway, we are here to talk about the sequel. Which is superior but not by much.
The premise is loosely the same – an otherwise democratic society allocates one day per year to ‘purge’ itself of tension, hatred and what have you by instigating total anarchy. The original movie had a family holed up in a house. The second movie takes to the streets. In this one, Seargeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is using the festivities to settle an old score. On his way to his target, he unwillingly protects a group of civilians who accidentally get caught up in the war zone. The movie reminds us on The Running Man (1987), with helpless pissants being hunted by killer savages on motorcycles and beach buggies. The Running Man was much more fun though.
The Purge: Anarchy is good at bringing the lawless hellhole to life. Unlike the original, the atmosphere is at once uneasy and intimidating. The violence is resounding. This is fun for the first half of the movie, but it doesn’t develop much beyond that for the second half. Grillo’s story ‘arc’, one of vengeance, is poor and non existent. So there’s a lot of running from one building to the next without any real reason. When watching the first movie, the thought occurred to me that a national ‘purge’ day would be the ideal day for a revolution, to launch a coup d’etat. The writer of this movie evidently had the same idea, with intermittent chest beating from anti-government rebels. It aims high with that, but doesn’t resolve it.
The Purge: Anarchy is not a bad movie at all. But it leaves you wanting. There’s some nice satire in there, bit it’s otherwise rental material only.