Aside from some questionable dialogue, The Purge: Anarchy is a superb sequel to the surprise 2013 hit. The premise is developed even further with bigger ideas and ambition, leading to some shocking twists and the introduction of some messed-up people. This time around, the 12 hour crime-free period hits the streets and it's out of control, and also a night of survival for four unlucky non-purgers who are caught up in the madness.
I premise has taken a step forward and it's very admirable! The rich bid on captured citizens and auction them off at vast prices, then take them into a hunting ground. People who don't want to kill kidnap innocents and give them to purgers, and the poor can be martyrs for the rich.
Anarchy is stark raving mad and suitably twisted, with plenty of gory moments and loads of epic kills whether it be at the end of a machete or at the chamber of a gun. James DeMonaco directs with grit and grim, filling this world with a sense of despair and unpredictability. His tight close-ups are seemingly his signature style, with lengthy corner-peeking camera shots that ramp up the tension. The jump scares come in the dozens, mostly through teasing in which you're led to believe something is about to happen but out of nowhere surprises come! This sequel is more action orientated, whereas the original really went for scares and atmosphere, both succeed in their own way.
In the first Purge Lena Headey was a main cast member, she's so talented and diverse in her performances, so I knew it would be a miracle if she returned for the sequel but she's not here sadly, instead there's a whole new cast and fortunately they are absolutely fantastic.
Frank Grillo is an absolute badass, he really needs a solo action vehicle, he plays a purger set on killing one person, but the good in him forces his character Leo to save four innocents in danger. Grillo looks the part, handles himself superbly in the action scenes and shows unbalanced emotion to begin with, but he begins to develop morales for his group and his shift in attitudes is enlivened by his strong performance.
It's great to see Kiele Sanchez, I last saw her in A Perfect Getaway and she was awesome. In this one Sanchez is Liz, whose luck runs out when her car breaks down minutes before the Purge downtown. Determined but slightly doubtful she'll survive, Liz develops nicely, taking hold of weapons as the stakes get higher. Sanchez is the most believable character, and her co-star Zach Gilford plays her on-screen husband, Gilford is decent but doesn't seem emote as well as his co-stars. Carmen Ejogo is amazing as a protective mother, her performance is utterly convincing, trying to keep control of her opinionated daughter as they are forced into the dangerous streets.
The acting is superb, the characters are strong plus the violence is taken to a whole new level and it's fresh to see the premise of the Purge taken into the streets. Producer Jason Blum has a tonne of ideas for this franchise to keep going, so no doubt we'll have a sequel making it's way onto screens soon.