The Purge: Anarchy creeps onto the big screens halfway through the blockbuster 2014 summer. About a month ago I wrote an article here on moviepilot wondering whether or not I'll give this sequel a chance and pay to see it in theaters. You can jump to that article here http://moviepilot.com/posts/2014/06/26/what-can-we-expect-from-the-purge-anarchy-1571664?lt_source=external,manual,manual
Well... I caved in and bought the tickets. This film is so interesting to discuss because the whole 'purge' idea is fascinating but the execution is still just not quite there. Sure, by all accounts this sequel was head and shoulders better than The Purge. Is being better than the original enough for the full ticket price? Check out my full video review here:
The writing for this sequel has improved but the direction has barely made improvements. Writer/Director James DeMonaco has a golden franchise idea on his hands but doesn't seem to know where he wants to go with it. The Purge was basically a bonafide home invasion film. The Purge: Anarchy expands upon the chaotic world in a city where crazies are running loose 'cleansing' themselves. Honestly, if another director was given this franchise they could turn this into a franchise that has a film every year similar to Paranormal Activity or the Saw movies.
This sequel attempts to dive into bigger picture ideas such as social economic classes and governmental conspiracies. Basically, it tries a little TOO hard to be something more. Michael K. Williams plays a rebellious leader doing the one thing you're not supposed to do on Purge-night and that's stop others from purging. His presence was very small in the grand scheme of things and his portrayal was as if he was channeling his inner Samuel L. Jackson. He literally had a line about "motherf*cking purging" as a call out to Jackson's famous quote from Snakes on a Plane.
The only notable performance came from Frank Grillo who shows us he's more than just an action hero. A scene towards the end truly showcases his acting range. Don't get me wrong he was a bada** in the film but the later scene was a nice change up from what we've seen him do. Grillo's character was really the only one we can latch onto due to the rest of his group having horror film cliche characters we've seen a million times. One guy always thinks he's the brave one, one girl questions everything constantly and another is just in the background crying every other scene.
On the good side of things, the ensemble style was more intriguing to see instead of just one family in a neighborhood. The film showed a wide range of purgers that seemed pretty believable if this happened in real life. There was a man on a roof with just a sniper rifle and a beer, a woman with a mega-phone shooting a gun in the air shouting about Jesus, and a school bus of gangsters armed with automatic weapons. Let's hope the eventual third film will expand upon these creative yet realistic purgers.
This may sound like I'm trashing this film but it's only because the idea is something special. The film is far from perfect but it can be a fun watch. My advice is to see it at a matinee or wait for it to come out on Netflix. Overall, the film didn't upset me but it didn't please me a ton. If you want to pay to see a movie in theaters go see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes again or I guess roll the dice and see Sex Tape if the mood should strike you. In the end I'll give it my number 3 rating "Well... I Saw it Once: That's All I'll Ever Need".
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