Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy

Year: 2014
Director: James DeMonaco
Cast: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul, Michael K. Williams

Plot: Another Purge takes place; this time a young couple, a waitress and her daughter are forced to rely on a heavily armed policeman to survive the night.

Review: This is a sequel to The Purge last year, where a family of four have to defend themselves against a group of home invaders. This year, director and writer James DeMonaco takes the purge into the city, where a group of people are forced to rely on each other to survive, or to be more specific, on the heavily armed cop whom they run into.

As the New Founding Fathers' annual Purge commences, a young couple with marital problems and a waitress and her daughter find themselves stuck on the streets, running for their lives as every person wanting to exercise their right to purge start spilling blood. They run into a policeman armed to the teeth with a mission of his own, who decides to help them survive, which eventually proves to be an unwise decision as more and more purgers get in their way.

DeMonaco's idea to bring the purge out into the open right in the middle of the city turned out to be wise, as it gives him plenty of possibilities to explore. Last year we had a bunch of rich yuppies as our villains, this year we have quite a handful: paramilitary men with high tech equipment, a gang of masked bikers and a bunch of rich people who pay good money to purge the poor. In fact, they're much more interesting than our little band of good guys who just want to live till dawn tomorrow. But the fact remains is that DeMonaco's move turns this sequel to an action thriller, which is a definite step up from last year's home invasion horror flick.

The best thing about this sequel is actually Frank Grillo, a Punisher-like guy who wants revenge on the man who killed his son, and the purge is his opportunity. Like most tragic heroes, he gives in to his conscience and chooses to protect the four people he runs into, at great risk of getting himself killed. Grillo depicts the man's reluctance and grief well enough to gain the audience's sympathy, so much so that the other four don't really hold a candle to him. It's not all their fault though, it's just that their characters aren't that interesting to begin with. The young couple (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) are thinking of separating, so you can guess how this day is going to change their feelings. The waitress and her daughter (Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul) are just trying to survive a horrific experience, which I would be able to relate to, if not for the fact that Soul's character is so damn annoying, constantly asking Grillo stupid questions and saying stupid things, and trying to convince Grillo that what he's planning to do is wrong. Right, go tell the other purgers that.

The action sequences are decent enough, though some of it suffers from shaky camerawork and bad lighting. The subplot about a group of people (featuring a returning character from the first film) who are against the purge and taking up arms against it is a nice twist, which I'm sure will be explored in future instalments. However the film suffers a bit from a certain amount of predictability. There were also a couple of purgers that came off as more funny than serious, one being the lady perched on a rooftop with a megaphone and a machine gun, the other being a jealous family member (I'll leave it at that).

The Purge: Anarchy is a marked improvement from the original, despite still having some amounts of ridiculousness and familiarity. It's good fun throughout its 103 minute run time, and you can do much worse. (7/10)

1 comment:

Kenji said...

Seems ok to me.


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