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The Purge Anarchy

The Purge Anarchy

What He said:

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The Purge Anarchy is one of those sequels that takes place in the same world as the previous movies, but focuses on a new story and characters. I don’t know if there is a word for that approach or not, but this is one of those movies. That’s not always – and in fact often isn’t – a good sign. It usually indicates a direct-to-video movie, one that the stars from the previous movie thought simply wasn’t worth their time, or some other red flag. Critics and fans both said this was better than the first one and since I enjoyed the first one, I thought I would check this one out too.  

I’d like to offer a quick recap for those who didn’t see the first movie (you don’t have to in order to see this movie) or simply need a refresher. It’s about 10 years into the future. It’s an almost perfect future. Crime is down to the point that it’s virtually nonexistent, unemployment is at an all-time low, and numbers wise, society is in generally better shape than it has ever been in. Remember, I said almost. The reason crime and poverty are down, is because there is a twelve hour period one night a year where all crimes are legal. People can go out and do whatever they want the night of “the purge”, just so as long as they keep themselves in check the rest of the year. It’s a free for all for twelve hours. It keeps the population down, let’s people vent (as warped as that is), and has stimulated the economy (people are buying a lot of things to protect themselves for that one night). It was a concept created by the new government, who call themselves The New Founding Fathers.

The Purge Anarchy

The last movie focused on the Sandin family. This movie focuses on three groups of people, who’s stories will coincide with one another as they try to survive the horror that is the purge.

Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo) is a waitress and she’s struggling to make it in the world. She’s a single mother and also the caretaker for her sick father. To put it bluntly, she’s not making enough money. She plans on asking her boss for a raise today, which is a risky move considering the purge starts in just a few hours. She is desperate though, as she cannot pay for her father’s next round of medication. Things go very bad for them when somebody breaks into their apartment when the purge begins.

Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanches) are driving to his sister’s house to wait out the purge with family. I guess it makes sense that if murder is legal, you want to spend it with your family, so that you know they are safe when the madness ends. On their way, they stop at a convenience store for some food and run into a group of people who – judging by their looks – obviously plan on purging that evening. They are spooked, but continue their trek. Little do they know, their car is about to break down – and the last place you want to be right now is on the streets.

The last of the cast – and also the lead – is Leo Barnes. Unlike the others, Leo is planning on purging. It is not stated exactly why, though it’s fairly obvious he (Frank Grillo) has revenge on his mind. He’s not some sicko that wants to go out and rape and murder just for the thrill of it. He wants to avenge the death of someone close to him.

The Purge Anarchy

So Leo – armed to the teeth – heads out to take care of business, when he gets sidetracked due to having a conscience. By this point in the movie Shane and Liz are on the run from their pursuers and Eva and Cali (her daughter) have been drug out of their home into the street by a bunch of very bad people. Leo hears the mother and daughter screaming and simply can’t ignore it, despite his best efforts. He rescues them and runs into Shane and Liz along the way.

Leo is trying to do the right thing, but also wants to be on his merry way and carry out his vendetta. He tries to give the group some guns and instructs them to hide until the purge is over, but seeing that he knows how to handle himself they beg him to stay. It doesn’t work, so Eva cuts a deal with him. She promises to help in with something he needs in exchange for protection. This takes them on a trek across town to the home of one of Eva’s friend and coworker. This is the night of the annual purge though and the trek is not easy. In addition to the occasional random psychopath, they are still being pursued by both the group that was chasing Shane and Liz, as well as the group that attempted to kidnap Eva and Cali (Zoe Soul).
Critics were pretty rough on the first movie. I didn’t think it was that bad to be honest. It wasn’t groundbreaking, and definitely had some holes, but I found it to be generally entertaining. This one got better reviews than the first and that grabbed my attention. This did not get rave reviews, but a lot of places were saying it was definitely better than the first installment.

I read a few articles claiming this movie was little more than a vehicle for Frank Grillo to kick ass. Grillo has been acting since the early 90s, but has started to become more popular in the last 3-4 years with movies such as The Grey, Warrior, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He could be considered a late bloomer. He’s still in great shape thought and definitely has “the look” of a movie tough guy, so his age (49) and his lack of leading roles are not an issue. When it comes to looking and actin the part, the dude has the it factor. He also plays the reluctant hero quite well. I wouldn’t even call him an antihero, because it’s clear he’s not like the murdering psychopaths who go out to kill people simply because they want to. He has revenge on his mind, which isn’t nice, but he’s not a bad person. So, even if it was a vehicle for him to lay waste to bad guys, I don’t have a problem with it.

The Purge Anarchy

I don’t even agree that this movie exists for no other reason than to showcase Grillo’s awesomeness. Sure, the action is at the forefront, but these movies definitely have a message. You might not like it – some claim its anti-Republican, I simply think it’s a commentary against the perils of a totalitarian government – but there’s definitely a message there. This movie is no different from The Running Man or The Hunger Games in that sense. They might tie in some American politics than those other movies, but there are all kinds of people doing bad things in this movie, not just “Republicans” (rich white people). It’s not a new premise in the slightest, but the action makes up for that. This movie is much more of a horror than either of the other two movies I mentioned. The action and violence of it is chaotic and frightening, not unlike a really good survival horror video game. The tension  is high for these characters, as they are trying to survive this madness, especially for the characters Grillo is protecting.

Some might call them disposable, and to a degree I can agree with that, however I saw a little substance to a few of them. Liz and Shane were definitely disposable, but they served a purpose. Nothing special here, but not bad or bothersome the way some damsels in distress are in some action movies. They also reprsent the audience. We all like to think we are tough, but we'd be scared shitless if we were in this situation. I like the chemistry between Leo, Eva, and Cali, particularly Cali. They took a liking to one another and not in a creepy way either – I’m talking about a step or adoptive father and daughter.

There’s a lot of bad horror movies out there and because of that, I think critics are automatically dismissive of the genre. Is this movie going to have some huge cultural impact for years to come? No, but it’s entertaining and that’s all I want out of it. I would definitely go see another one if they made it.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on February 28, 2015

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