Movie Reviews

Published on July 18th, 2014 | by gareth


The Purge: Anarchy

Last year audiences got a glimpse into a future America where crime, unemployment, and other social factors were at an all-time low. The cost for such radical social transformation was an annual Purge where for 12 hours; all crimes including murder are legal.

The film was made for less than $4 million and went on to become a surprise hit which naturally gave rise to sequel plans.

“The Purge: Anarchy” picks up a year later shortly before the annual Purge commences. The story follows three main groups of people who are preparing for the pending evening in Los Angeles.
Eva, (Carmen Ejogo), is a single mom who works as a waitress when she is not caring for her daughter and father, Shane and Liz a coupling facing a possible separation, ( Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez), and a mysterious man known as Sargent (Frank Grillo).

Although strangers at the start of the evening, fate brings them all together on an evening where not everyone can be trusted as people can turn on one another over long standing grudges or simply to ‘free the beast” as they call it citing their right to do so as granted by the new founding fathers.

The streets have become a battlefield as the carnage builds up and people locked in their buildings soon find themselves under attack from black armor clad shock troops supported by chain gun equipped semi-trailers.

The main characters of the film must work with one another to stay alive as Sergeant as desperate need of a car to replace the one he lost saving his companions, but to the others he is a dangerous wildcard that they are not sure can be trusted.

As the group moves through the streets looking for safety, danger is all around them and as they evening progresses they learn more and more about the Purge and who in society benefits the most from this annual event.

With death a constant companion, the group must survive against all odds in a world gone mad for 12 hours and with limited options, they must take on the deadliest threats ever assembled for The Purge.

The film is a rare sequel that is actually better than the original. The increased budget shows as the ability to set the story in a city rather than a single home has allowed a more diverse cast of characters, motivations, and scenarios to be presented.

Aside from the solid mix of action and suspense, I enjoyed the fact that the characters came across as real people rather than stereotypical fodder for films of this type. While there is not tons of depth given to them, we are given enough information to understand their motivations and find a reason to care for them.

The film also takes on some very touchy subjects such as social injustices, the needs of the poor vs the seemingly uncaring attitudes of the wealthy and how laws seem to be made often to appease only the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else.

Taking on such difficult subject matter without becoming overly preachy was a strong point of the film as it not only entertained but raised some very good questions and social commentary while allowing the audience to make up their own minds.

This reminded me in many ways of the original Star Trek series as they were pioneers in taking on topics that the network censors would not allow by hiding it in the cloak of fantasy. The powers that be had little knowledge of what was being presented but those who did watch the show clearly got the message.

This was evident in the film when the tables turned on a sadistic and elite socialite which resulted in loud cheers and applause from the audience.

There has been talk that the next film in the series may be a prequel and deal with the original Purge and how it came to be. I for one would love to see more as the nature of the premise gives rise to so many stories and scenarios in one night alone, and the fact that the Purge is an annual event, and then perhaps we will see films in this series on a regular basis. If they keep up the quality of this one, then I say bring them on.

3.5 stars out of 5.

The Purge exploded onto the scene as a daring and angst-laden horror flick in 2013. The first installment featured Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey and garnered lukewarm reviews. On IMDB it holds a 5.5 rating from 83,000 users. The premise is pretty basic: one night of the year the annual purge begins and all crimes, including murder are legal for 12 hours.

The second movie has been reviewed by almost 9,000 users and already holds a solid 7/10 rating. The movie stars Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo and Zach Gilford among others. It is a definite improvement on the first movie and it details the perilous evening when a couple are driving home as The Purge commences. Naturally their car breaks down and all sorts of mayhem erupt as Los Angeles streets turn bloody.

The film had a rather modest budget of $9 million, and has already taken in over $56 million in the US alone. The general feeling among viewers is that this movie is a definite improvement and the acting was superb. Of course there are moments of heightened tension in the film and it’s clear that some viewers would rather do something else, like play casino games online. There is plenty of room for excitement, but without any of the gory scenes – except if you’re playing Vampires vs Werewolves which has the potential to get a little scary!

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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