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Review: The Purge: Anarchy

The Purge: Anarchy
Jul. 16, 2014by:
6 10

PLOT: It's once again time for “The Purge”– a yearly event where, for twelve hours, all crime is legal – even murder. This time, a single mother (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter (Zoe Soul), along with a bickering couple (Kiele Sanchez & Zach Gilford) find themselves at the mercy of the purgers, only to be rescued by a mysterious man (Frank Grillo) who's in the midst of his own, very private, purge.

REVIEW: A lot of credit is due to director James DeMonaco. While he could have easily followed up last year's surprise hit THE PURGE with another home invasion thriller that hit all the same beats as its predecessor, with the sequel he tries something different. Now, instead of confining “The Purge” to a single home, we get to experience the true scale of the event, with the action taking place in downtown Los Angeles as a few regular folks try to survive.

The biggest departure is that while the first movie was still a de-facto horror flick, THE PURGE: ANARCHY is a straight-up action thriller. This is mostly thanks to the introduction of Frank Grillo as a taciturn, anti-hero vigilante, who's using the purge to settle a couple of scores. People have been saying for years that Grillo – with his jet-black hair and intense look – would be ideal as “The Punisher”. DeMonaco and producer Jason Blum must think so as this is probably as close to a full-on Punisher movie as they could have made without getting sued. Clad in black, packing an arsenal, and driving around in an armoured car, he's essentially playing Frank Castle except that he's not wearing a skull on his shirt. If this is Frank Grillo's audition for the part it can't be denied that he nails it.

The idea of turning loose a one-man army into the midst of “The Purge” is actually a cool idea, and ANARCHY is a huge improvement over the not-so-good original. Grillo's got charisma to burn, and he makes for a really cool action hero, being tough and fit, but also not unbelievably larger-than-life. He's more Kurt Russell or Charles Bronson than Steven Seagal, and it's been awhile since we've gotten a real down-to-earth action guy. If nothing else, THE PURGE: ANARCHY should open a lot of doors for him.

Grillo's so cool that it's easy to overlook a lot of ANARCHY's shortcomings. The biggest problem is that the Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez characters never feel anything less than extraneous, with Gilford coming-off as so whiny you'll be eagerly awaiting his demise. Sanchez doesn't come off much better, and their inclusion is utterly pointless. Luckily Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul fare better as the mother/daughter pair Grillo has to protect, even if their sole purpose here is to make Grillo look heroic and soften his rough edges. This is pretty much “action 101” writing, and it would have been cool if DeMonaco had taken a bit less of a by-the-numbers approach, as the premise is still really solid.

The action scenes also tend to get repetitive, with only a cool night-vision battle towards the end really standing out. This might be more of a budgetary issue than a creative one. Hopefully, if this is a success, Blum will invest more into the third film, as with a couple of really dynamic action scenes (to match the dynamic hero) this could have been a real sleeper.

Even still, THE PURGE: ANARCHY is a major leap in quality from the last film, and a surprisingly straight-forward action-thriller, devoid of unconvincing plot twists or cheap scares. It's a totally solid actioner, and a really good showcase for Frank Grillo. Even if you didn't like the first film, this is well worth checking out.

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:24PM on 07/18/2014
Frank Grillo kicked ass, would make a great Punisher, but he is Crossbones in the Marvel movies so doublt he could play Castle.
Frank Grillo kicked ass, would make a great Punisher, but he is Crossbones in the Marvel movies so doublt he could play Castle.
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3:51PM on 07/18/2014

Looking forward to it.....

So what you're saying is this movie is closer to Death Wish and Escape from New York. Fantastic.

Thanks for the review. I look forward to it.
So what you're saying is this movie is closer to Death Wish and Escape from New York. Fantastic.

Thanks for the review. I look forward to it.
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12:33AM on 07/18/2014
While I am glad that the film is better than the first, and does look more interesting, I think I'd still rather save my money for Lucy next week (pending it doesn't suck complete balls). I'll wait for this one on dvd.
While I am glad that the film is better than the first, and does look more interesting, I think I'd still rather save my money for Lucy next week (pending it doesn't suck complete balls). I'll wait for this one on dvd.
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1:54PM on 07/17/2014

At least its better than the first one

Not that it could have been any worse. Still don't care about it though.
Not that it could have been any worse. Still don't care about it though.
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1:09PM on 07/17/2014
I really wasn't that into the first one, but I like what I'm hearing.
I really wasn't that into the first one, but I like what I'm hearing.
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10:18AM on 07/17/2014
You talked this movie up so much throughout the largest portions of the review, save for one paragraph. And you give it a 6? That doesn't make any sense.

Anyways, I thought the first one was pretty good. Sure the story didn't quite serve the premise to it's full potential, but it looks like they're tapping into that potential for this franchise with Purge: Anarchy. I'll definitely be checking it out.
You talked this movie up so much throughout the largest portions of the review, save for one paragraph. And you give it a 6? That doesn't make any sense.

Anyways, I thought the first one was pretty good. Sure the story didn't quite serve the premise to it's full potential, but it looks like they're tapping into that potential for this franchise with Purge: Anarchy. I'll definitely be checking it out.
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9:46AM on 07/17/2014
In my opinion, the storyline for this one should have been the storyline for the original. But glad to read it's better then the original and that Grillo owns in it.

Looking forward to it.
In my opinion, the storyline for this one should have been the storyline for the original. But glad to read it's better then the original and that Grillo owns in it.

Looking forward to it.
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5:17AM on 07/17/2014
" he's essentially playing Frank Castle " Thank youuuu!
" he's essentially playing Frank Castle " Thank youuuu!
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12:53AM on 07/17/2014
Wish you had spent more time talking about the film and other interesting angles regarding the plot, thematic material, how it functions as a sequel, etc. Half of this is just on the actors, which doesn't tell me much.
Wish you had spent more time talking about the film and other interesting angles regarding the plot, thematic material, how it functions as a sequel, etc. Half of this is just on the actors, which doesn't tell me much.
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8:36AM on 07/17/2014
its joblo, dont expect much.
its joblo, dont expect much.
12:53AM on 07/17/2014

Solid 7/10...

After being massively disappointed in the lackluster original I will tell you right now The Purge: Anarchy is everything the first film should have been. It reminded me of movies like Judgement Night and Training Day when the story focuses on a small group of people during the events of one crazy evening. When that night happens to fall on a night when murder is legal it equals a pretty good time at the theatre.
After being massively disappointed in the lackluster original I will tell you right now The Purge: Anarchy is everything the first film should have been. It reminded me of movies like Judgement Night and Training Day when the story focuses on a small group of people during the events of one crazy evening. When that night happens to fall on a night when murder is legal it equals a pretty good time at the theatre.
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2:46AM on 07/17/2014
You had me at "Judgment Night".
You had me at "Judgment Night".
8:55AM on 07/17/2014
I f*king love Judgment Night!
I f*king love Judgment Night!
+0
12:27AM on 07/17/2014

But he was in a Marvel film....

@baTATASta - I was about to say the same thing. Its like the reviewer forgot he was Crossbones in the Winter Soldier. And is set to play him again. And since the whole Punisher thing has been brought up, I know I may be the minority here , but I thought Ray Stevenson Was a good Punisher. The movie may not have been the best Punisher, but I felt he was the most brutal of all the Punishers. But Stevenson is playing Volgstagg in the Thor movies which im fine with as well. Enough of my rants. Smell
@baTATASta - I was about to say the same thing. Its like the reviewer forgot he was Crossbones in the Winter Soldier. And is set to play him again. And since the whole Punisher thing has been brought up, I know I may be the minority here , but I thought Ray Stevenson Was a good Punisher. The movie may not have been the best Punisher, but I felt he was the most brutal of all the Punishers. But Stevenson is playing Volgstagg in the Thor movies which im fine with as well. Enough of my rants. Smell my ass ya'll!
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8:35AM on 07/17/2014
ray was fantastic.
ray was fantastic.
12:17AM on 07/17/2014
Hope that Marvel sees it? Are you freaking kidding me? He is already in the Marvel universe. This site gets sloppier by the minute.
Hope that Marvel sees it? Are you freaking kidding me? He is already in the Marvel universe. This site gets sloppier by the minute.
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11:55PM on 07/16/2014
Pretty sure the people at marvel are pretty aware of Grillo....considering he was one of the bad guys in the last Cap America.
Pretty sure the people at marvel are pretty aware of Grillo....considering he was one of the bad guys in the last Cap America.
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11:52PM on 07/16/2014
"The idea of turning loose a one-man army into the midst of The Purge is actually a cool idea, and ANARCHY is a huge improvement over the not-so-good original" - that is good enough for me. I might check this sequel after all.
"The idea of turning loose a one-man army into the midst of The Purge is actually a cool idea, and ANARCHY is a huge improvement over the not-so-good original" - that is good enough for me. I might check this sequel after all.
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