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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Movie Review - The Purge: Anarchy

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Starring Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, and Zoë Soul
Directed by James DeMonaco

The Purge: Anarchy picks up one year after the original Purge storyline, although the two films share no connection other than the overarching theme of "The Purge" -- a once-a-year twelve-hour period in which American citizens can commit any crime without worry of legal ramifications.  I found the first film to contain an interesting concept but the execution in the story and direction were huge disappointments.  Needless to say, seeing as how the director-screenwriter James DeMonaco returned for a second go around here, I had no hopes for this one -- particularly considering that 2013's The Purge landed on my Worst of 2013 list.

In Anarchy, DeMonaco fleshes out the overarching governmental aspects of The Purge while at the same time nicely balancing a story about a quintet of people who are forced to face the 2023 Purge head-on on the streets of Los Angeles.  We've got a father (Frank Grillo) bent on revenge towards someone who wronged his family, an economically struggling mother and daughter (Carmen Ejogo and Zoë Soul) who want nothing to do with The Purge but are drawn into it by a seemingly random act that perhaps wasn't so random, and a bickering couple (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) whose car breaks down mere minutes before the start of this year's Purge.  Rather surprisingly, all of these characters' storylines work and although they certainly aren't deep or particularly fascinating, they are a significant step up from the original The Purge which I faulted for some ridiculous plot holes that ruined that initial experience.  In addition, as I previously mentioned, DeMonaco begins to detail the governmental push behind the Purge, hinting at the fact that the government is utilizing this horrid event to cleanse the country of its poor since the underprivileged are the ones taking part in the event the most.

While The Purge: Anarchy is definitely an upgrade from the last film, DeMonaco's script still feels a little bland considering the intriguing concept.  Despite the twists concerning the US government, the story involving the quintet of characters is really just a ninety minute-long cat-and-mouse chase as they try and outrun those Purgers who are hunting them down.  Fortunately, the actors bring a surprising amount of heart and believability to the flick with nary a one of the main five being disappointing.  They certainly elevate their characters beyond the token roles they've been given.  Overall, color me surprised that this franchise improved in its second go-around and has me interested in the third installment.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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