Remember last year when The Purge came out and we were all talking about how the idea of a Purge was an interesting concept for a film. Of course we then all saw The Purge which was nothing more then a break and enter slasher flick. What all of us wanted to see was the idea of an annual Purge were for 12 hours one a year all crimes up to and including murder were legal and no fire, police or hospitals could help you, be used as a means of social commentary and filled with cool things that could happen if this event actually happened. Well I have some good news for you, The Purge: Anarchy is much more then a break and enter film, it actually takes the idea of The Purge and factors in different scenario’s that could take place if this were a true event.
Idea’s like getting revenge against someone who wronged in the previous 12 months, auctioning off people to be killed, a vigilante group fighting back against The Purge, selling yourself to the rich for The Purge, being stuck outside when The Purge starts and government intervention. All of these idea’s take place in some form during The Purge Anarchy. The bad news is this time that went with to many ideas in one film and it becomes a cluster of a film, that doesn’t really have any clear direction.
We follow a group of 5 people this time around as we move from inside a rich mansion in the first film, to were all the action is really taking place, the streets. We have a strange man (a terrific Frank Gillo) who is clearly planning on getting revenge on someone who wronged him, a couple who is about to break up Liz (Kiele Sanchez) and Shane (Zach Gilford), who’s car broke down in the middle of the hi-way right before The Purge begins, and mother and daughter team ( Carmen Ejogo and Justina Machado) who have were attacked in their apartment and saved by Frank. We follow them through the film as they try to survive the night.
The first half of this film is really fascinating as we get to see the many ways in which people “unleash their beast” thanks to the new founding fathers. You have guys sitting on roof tops snipping people, gangs going around causing havoc, groups driving around in trucks killing people and even a women who thinks she is doing not only the founding fathers work, but gods as well, as she sits atop a store and blasts away. There are some really good suspenseful scene and the movie actually works really well as a thriller during this first portion of the film, as our 5 hero’s running around trying to avoid the chaos.
Then the movie starts to fall apart, as the characters start to act stupid (one screams when a rat growls up her leg, even though there is a gang of ruthless thugs right around the corner) and the action scenes get over the top. A scene that takes place in a sewer is laugh out loud bad, and completely over the top.
As I said above the main issue with this movie is that it is overstuffed with idea’s that would actually all make great stand alone films themselves. I would love to see Frank Gillo’s character’s story about trying to avenge himself. Or a whole movie about Liz and Shane getting stuck in the Purge because their car broke down and how they will survive the night. Any of the idea’s I have mentioned above, would all make great stand alone stories, that could have kept The Purge series going for years. So why stuff it all in one movie?
The Purge: Anarchy is a great improvement from the original film and it shows signs of having the potential to tell many of great stories from its premise. Unfortunately it tries to take on way to much in a 90 min film and instead of being an interesting, piece of social commentary it is stuck being a basic thriller movie, that really falls apart in the final 20 mins. At this rate by the time we get to the 3rd Purge movie next year, maybe they will have it figured out, because this is a concept that deserves a great story to go with it.