REVIEW — “The Purge: Anarchy”
Taking the concepts from the original and expanding on them, “The Purge: Anarchy” is the rare sequel that is better than it’s predecessor.
Taking place nearly a decade in the future, the “New Founding Fathers” of the United States have created an annual purge. Every March 21st, from 7pm till 7am, all crimes are legal. The concept is that the population is allowed a sanctioned outlet for the anger and violence that builds up inside them. After 9 years, it appears to be working. Violent crimes are at an all time low and unemployment has dropped to 5%. But are the Government’s intentions behind the Purge more sinister than they appear? Obviously. This is the U.S. Government we are talking about!
Greatly expanding on the original’s single setting story, “Anarchy” now shows us a large part of the city during this hellish night. Three plot lines, two apparently middle class groups, and one lower class, eventually converge and fight to survive the night. Considering the subject matter, it makes the movie much more accessible to audiences. The broader environment increases the suspense, and allows for a multitude of colorful characters to make appearances. (An area the original suffered from.)
Frank Grillo, known only as “Sergeant” ends up being the hesitant leader of the group, essentially playing a slightly nicer version of the same character he usually plays. With the entire cast being made up of relative unknowns, Ebert’s “Economy of Characters” rule is null and void, which helps increase the suspense. We never know when any given character might be blown away. In fact, suspense in general is handled very well in this movie. Sure, it drags in all the usual cliches, but from these cliches it crafts some very effective, haunting imagery.
Is this a “good” movie? Not really. But it’s effective for what it is. If you liked the first one, you will probably enjoy this one a bit more. It’s great at crafting suspense, has some good action sequences, you really have no idea how it will turn out, and it’s not boring. With its literal interpretation of Class Warfare, it’s essentially a modern day Exploitation Film. Ironically it ends up being one of the better movies coming out this week.
3.5 out of 5 Stars