A group of “every day” folks get stuck outside in the city on Purge night. Thank Crom they have vigilante Sergeant (Frank Grillo), a man with is own “purge” agenda, on their side. Will they survive the night?
I “liked” the original THE PURGE (2013)
, it had a good concept, solid leads and a creepy villain. It didn’t go far enough with its initial premise for my liking, relying on being a home invasion thriller instead, but hey, that’s what we got. All good. Now we have THE PURGE 2 ANARCHY
to deal with, a sequel that attempted to correct what the first film did wrong by taking us outside in the city on PURGE night. Question is, did it pull it off?
Yes and no. The only reason I was interested in seeing THE PURGE 2 in the first place was to witness Frank Grillo whoop that ass. And in that department I got my fill. Grillo WAS the movie for me. He oozed of presence and did the brooding action man thing to a T. THE PURGE 3 could be about Frank Grillo doing some gardening while sipping a healthy cup of tea and I would eagerly want to see it. So yeah, Grillo was tops! Moreover, when the film kept it simple, it was freaking “on”. I loved witnessing Grillo and cie stealthing from one place to another and overcoming dire obstacle in the name of reaching their objectives. I got shades of Escape from New York for a second there and that's a good thing!
The dread filled mood and the often-stylish camera work (loved them areal shots) often contributed to the impact of the film as well. Random suspense was also in the house and the pace was effortless. Talk about an easy watch! Finally, the flick had a handful of solid ideas (I dug how they handled the rich folks), the sound design was astounding and the badass electronic music score by Nathan Whitehead was uber engaging and straight out of the 80’s! You can bet your sweet ass I’m going to acquire it! Next to Grillo’s powerhouse showcase, it was my favorite thing in the flick.
Alas, for me, THE PURGE ANARCHY stumbled way too much to meet its full potential. First off the story was a tad all over the place. There were way too many bad guy factions and the only memorable one (that ugly dude with a trucker hat) was underused. I also didn’t find the Michael K. Williams subplot convincing in the least. I cringed when he popped onscreen. Not because of the man’s talent, he is a fine thespian (always wanted to use that word), but due to the awful writing he had to deal with and the manner in which his character was shoehorned into the whole. I didn't buy it for a second!
I can’t say the secondary cast bowled me over either. The whiny young couple Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) was grating to say the least while the mother/daughter tag team of Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and Cali (Zoë Soul) fared better, but busted WAYYYY too much balls for my liking. And was I alone in getting frustrated with the way the action scenes were shot? The hand-to-hand fights were barely lit blurs and I often got lost in the gunfights as to what was going down. Speaking of ra-ta-tat; what’s the point of setting up a huge gun battle if you’re barely going to have reverse shots of people shooting back or/and dropping dead? Kind of neutered the experience. Lastly the film had too many predictable plot turns, felt rushed in places and didn’t always run far enough with its warped ideas. This movie was Rated R? I’m not sure why to be honest.
PERSONAL NOTE: How about in the next Purge movie we drop the freaking heavy-handed morality and preaching? The whole Criticizing man’s violent impluses 24/7 got old real fast and felt somewhat hypocritical. If you’re going to make an exploitation film, embrace it, don’t condemn the exact thing you’re utilizing throughout in the name of being P.C. NAG! NAG! NAG! That’s what it felt like that to me.
On the whole, THE PURGE 2 ANARCHY could have been great instead of average. The set up was there and so was the cool anti-hero. But much like the first one, this bad-boy needed another script polish, a bit more balls and maybe a couple more days of shooting to get further coverage for them action scenes. PURGE this one at your own risk!
We get blood here and there, bullet hits, stabbings and a couple of surprises I won’t give away. I found the film to be dry taking into account it’s rating and premise.
None. We don’t have the exploitation films we used to have!
THE PURGE 2 ANARCHY had a cool concept, an easy pace, Frank Grillo owning all, a solid score/sound design and a handful of fun physical get-downs. But it kind of soured its own goodies by being a bit all over the place story wise, sporting meh supporting characters (whiners and ball breakers) and putting out flawed actions scenes (can’t see shit/not enough coverage). Furthermore the film had one subplot too many, didn’t use its best villain enough and was WAYYYY too preachy for its own good. See it for Frank Grillo but see it at home!