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The Purge: Anarchy - Movie Review

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The Purge: Anarchy - Movie Review


2 stars

Kill or be killed. That’s the thematic thrust behind The Purge mythos as the real America totters on the ever increasing gulf between the rich and the poor. The surprise hit of last year’s The Purge meant a sequel would follow soon. Well, here it is. Writer/director James DeMonaco’s follow-up, The Purge: Anarchy fixes the cartoonish errors of a main villain in the original but doesn’t come out on the winning side in a 5 star rating. It simply isn’t as focused.

Reacting negatively to this movie doesn’t make me feel very good. The basic idea is such a strong one. The original was successfully harrowing. While it’s nothing new, his idea certainly has its fingers on the pulse of the public, yet this time he can’t resist strangling us with mindless violence and a script, in spite of its many efforts, that can’t clearly get but one message across about class warfare.

A white van is the main scare on the streets of an abandoned Los Angeles. For Shane and Liz (real life couple Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez), there is no safe place free from this ghostly van. Inside are a bunch of heinous hoodlums in white face who – on this government-sponsored night of terror without consequence for all citizens – have chosen them as their targets.

The luckless couple – trapped on this night by a sabotaged car – teams up with a frightened mother and daughter and grandfather – Eva and Cali (Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul and John Beasley) – and a stranger named Sergeant (Frank Grillo) who just wants revenge on a drunk driver who killed his son. They must survive the ghastliest of all nights: a 12-hour period of murder and mayhem known in America as The Purge.

The original movie held out on the violence and allowed the audience to feel suspense before bludgeoning us. The metaphors weren’t hammers to the skull. The Purge: Anarchy could use a little withholding. The violence on display is immediate and completely in your face, largely jettisoning the whole class war in favor of a mysterious and seemingly professional player taking shots from the wings.

What the pieced-together and obviously rushed script does get right are moments when the affluent dilettantes make their moves and join the night’s action. That and a new organization whose leader (Michael K. Williams) wants to wage war against the New Founding Fathers and their continued abuses against the lower class. He calls them racists, fascists, and every other name under the sun. His mission to overthrow the 12-hours might be in vain but, in a world of corporate takeover, it seems downright believable.

The rest – including the mediocre acting – is a babbling brook of hit-and-miss moments. Sometimes picture perfect and sometimes too loud for enjoyment. All of this makes for a frustrating movie experience. On one hand, it is easy to applaud DeMonaco’s championing of the 99% and their cause. On the other, it is far more sermonizing than it ought to be with such obvious metaphors in this class and race war.

This revolution won’t be televised.

The Purge: Anarchy - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for strong disturbing violence, and for language.
103 mins
: James DeMonaco
James DeMonaco
Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford
: Action | Crime
The Purge: Anarchy
Memorable Movie Quote: "If you're not purging, we advise you to get off the streets. It'll be a war out there."
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 18, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available
Synopsis: A couple are driving home to their kids when their car runs out of gas just as the Purge commences. Meanwhile, Leo goes out into the streets to get revenge on the man who killed his son, and a mother and daughter run from their home after assailants destroy it. The five people meet up as they attempt to survive the night in Los Angeles..

No details available.

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