30 Jul 2014

Review - 'The Purge: Anarchy' Explores its Premise in the most Hard-Hitting and Violent of Manners

Director: James DeMonaco
Writer: James DeMonaco
Stars: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford
Running Time: 103 mins
Sub-Genre: Thriller, Action
Release: 18th July 2014

A couple are driving home when their car breaks down just as the Purge commences. Meanwhile, a police sergeant 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.

2013’s The Purge was something of a question mark with fans of the genre and beyond, mostly due to the fact that such a strong plot was tainted by such a derivative delivery. We all lusted over the idea of what else the concept brought, and the thought of it perhaps taking place outdoors was something that injected excitement into all those who cared enough to want the concept to be explored with more depth. Luckily and unluckily, The Purge: Anarchy takes the range of the concept with hard hitting action, and like many bullets being shot (due to the excessive amount of gun battles), it both hits and misses, as well as the occasional misfire; amongst which has some dazzling qualities.

The Purge was stunted by its sheer lack of originality and grasps it had for its central premise, and it is this fault in particular which makes Anarchy shine as bright as it does, and it is the director’s focus on repair that aids Anarchy in becoming a sequel well worth talking about. Although it’s stunted by a few silly beats which are almost impossible to float by without criticising, you can’t help but admire all the originality Anarchy brings to the table, and the severe intensity that accompanies so in the most effective of ways. One scene in particular which has a group of unfortunate civilians who were pulled from their homes auctioned off to be killed by wealthy folk is both chilling and strangely fun; a scene that will surely be printed in your memory for all those to come and go in 2014.

Through all the pulsating action and frequent gun fire, Anarchy still manages to inject some good old horror genre conventions despite its powerhouse action genre approach. Although it isn’t to be described as “scary” and more “creepy”, this is all conjured from a few effective jump scares that are aided by several sinister villains whose lust for blood is both unsettling and fascinating. This of course is all brought about from the central characters; a purger who is out for revenge, a mother and daughter who are ripped from safety and a separated couple who, after having their car break down in the empty streets are left alone outdoors during the purge. Luckily, the characters are developed enough so that when their lives are in extreme danger we at least care for their well-being; this being more to say for most of the horror-related flicks on the market.

The Purge Anarchy has its many qualities, but beyond them are faults that stunt the film, completely ripping you out of the moment, reminding you of just how silly these types of films can be. Perhaps it takes a few more sequels for the director James DeMonaco to realise that an untrained civilian with a machine gun cannot blow up and oncoming armoured vehicle with precision; maybe in the film world they can, but it was beyond silly and a completely hand-slap-on-head moment that was unnecessary and unintentionally funny. Well done to the woman sporting the gun but let’s be real here. This amongst many which I will prevent from spoiling any further are Anarchy’s downfall; and just when you think something like The Purge could happen, it’s major mishaps like so that remind you it really can’t.

Perhaps most of the positivity is stemmed from the fact that it achieves many things the first failed to do, and does the extreme premise justice, the justice that it and us movie fans deserve. Maybe the idea of a Purge 3 wouldn’t be such a bad idea, giving more room to explore the open premise that has so much more to give if placed in the hands of the right team. Only time will tell, but if The Purge were to become a franchise, then I bet it will be one to own and one to admire.

Compared to the previous entry, The Purge: Anarchy is a solid action thriller that delivers on its promising premise; packed with originality, gut-wrenching thrills and, albeit, silly action.


R / 103 mins / Action, Thriller / 2014

Director: James DeMonaco

Writer: James DeMonaco

Stars: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul

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