DIRECTOR: James DeMonaco
WRITER: James DeMonaco
Michael Kenneth Williams
It's the latest annual purge, and three groups of people are left trapped on the streets during the murder spree. A father seeks revenge on the man who killed his son while driving under the influence. A mother and her daughter are trying to survive the night after being dragged from their home by the militia, and a couple who are breaking up are trapped outside when their car is tampered with by a murderous biker gang who want to purge. All three groups will come together and try to survive the night.
When it comes to the second 'Purge' movie. It's still my personal favourite movie in the series. After my second viewing of The Purge: Anarchy. I still believe it's the most enjoyable and has held up on repeated viewings. The movie really does take what the first film built on with its rather fantastic and original premise and opens up the world of The Purge series. It's that rare case of a sequel that actually turns out to improve on the original in almost every way.
What The Purge Anarchy does right first and foremost is that we are introduced to a group of characters that I actually cared about and rooted for. Besides the bickering partners who start to grate on the nerves towards the end of the movie. Our father seeking revenge and the mother and daughter fighting for their lives add a different dynamic to the Sandin family from the first movie. I found myself wanting to see all of them make it out of this alive.
Another element that worked for me much better this time around was that Anarchy didn't feel the need to get the characters into all the chaos and carnage under such annoying circumstances like the first one having the son let in a homeless man which in turn caused the death of his own father. This time around, a grieving father is after revenge. The car that the couple is driving has been tampered with to ensure that the hunters can chase them down and the mother and daughter are being hunted for the purge. It doesn't feel as silly this time around.
I think the sequel is a lot more intense than the first film. The first and second act has the movie moving at such a swift pace and throwing the characters into moments of danger with every chance it gets, that it never really has a chance to slow down. The movie is a lot more successful when delivering those on the edge of your seat thrills. The only time that I think those thrills stop is towards the third act of the film.
The ending is where The Purge: Anarchy lost a few points with me. It had me right up until the sale of the characters at the creepy rich people auction. Once we enter the killing floor, I wasn't sold on it. The addition of Michael Kenneth Williams and his crew rescuing everyone felt so over the top and cheesy. I think it killed the momentum. It wasn't until we get back to the mission of Frank Grillo's grieving father where things pick up again. The auction element felt very 'Hostel'.
The acting in the film is solid for the most part. I much prefer Frank Grillo taking over the franchise from the original characters. His character Sargeant is a tough-as-nails leading action star and is one that you can really root for. Jack Conley is also solid and creepy as the films sort-of-evil villain. He plays a character who uses a Gatling gun to mow civilians down. I think while not as scary and disturbing as Rhys Wakefield, he's still a solid supporting bad guy.
Carmen Ejogo as a mother trying to get her daughter to safety is excellent. I hadn't seen her in anything before but enjoyed her performance in the film. Grillo's co-star from Kingdom Kiele Sanchez is ace at the beginning of the movie. Even though her character becomes a bit grating towards the end. Lastly, Michael Kenneth Williams is in a smaller role within the film and is decent even if at times his rants become a bit cheesy during the auction scene.
Lastly, the movie is much grander and more visually impressive than the first film. Bringing the action to the streets was a great idea by the writer and director James DeMonaco. Getting the movie out of the mansion was a genius idea as it opened up the story to so many more possibilities. There are more significant set pieces in the film, the horror aspect is downplayed, but the action feels a lot more warranted. A much better and visually exciting movie this time around.
DEATH TOLL: 33
BLOOD AND GORE:
- People are mowed down with a Gatling gun.
- Someone's neck is snapped.
- Someone is burnt alive.
- A woman is gunned down by her sister.
- A lot of dead bodies are shown.
- People are shot with machine guns.
- Someone is thrown off the top of a building.
- Someone is hung from a structure by chains.
- A person is shown being bashed with a baseball bat.
The Purge: Anarchy is the rare case of a horror movie sequel that is better than the original. The movie is a much bigger improvement across the board. The drama is a lot more intense as are the set pieces, the action is grander, and the characters and actors are better written and well acted. The film also ramps up the death toll which is always welcomed. The movie does, however, falter towards the third act but is still a most entertaining and better-made sequel.