“The unwritten Purge rule: don’t save lives. Tonight we take lives,” said Big Daddy to Sergeant.
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Practically, James DeMonaco’s The Purge (2013) starred by Ethan Hawke could have been a serious hit if only its pretentious premise was well-executed; not in a micro-twisted home invasion, but in high-scale dystopian riots. However, a little spark of box office hits in 2013—ignited by low-budgeted The Purge—has encouraged the-sequel-of-low-budgeted-hit aficionado Blumhouse (the production house that brought you five Paranormal Activities and two Insidious so far) to quickly mend the broken and initiate another “purge.”
The Purge: Anarchy that releases a year following the first Purge is definitely an answer to what fans wish. Taking place in 2023 in the U.S, a year after the event in the previous film and six years after the first Annual Purge; the New Founding Father of America is about to commence this year’s Purge in which all crimes including murder are legal and all emergency service will be suspended right after. If last year, Ethan Hawke’s family was trapped in their own house during the event; this year, the Sergeant (Frank Grillo)—with his desire to avenge his kid—voyages over the street of L.A, only to find innocence survivors: a young couple (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) and a family (Carmen Ejogo and Zoë Soul). His chance, now, is to save those innocence people or go on with his vengeance, while the Annual Purge still goes for the next 12 hours.
To feed the horde of anarchists on the street of L.A with armless innocence is obviously a great set-up. Through those survivors, you are led to see how people devastate people in an ‘apocalypse-like’ city riots along with thugs and dangers. The action-thriller goes like hip hop beat and rampages in flash—serving the looks of dystopian gang wars, home invasions, and ‘money-shot’ gladiators from various social status. The Purge: Anarchy really offers a new point of view to the titular purge which is completely different and more brutal—something to fit the ‘real atmosphere’ of the film’s devastating issue.
Even if you don’t know that there was Purge in 2013, you can still stomach this film. This indirect sequel takes a completely different approach to present the conflicts that being its bless and curse. Judging from how this sequel treats the characters and the Annual Purge itself, I really believe that this film has the perks of making huge waves of haters and fans at once (just like other Blumhouse sequels). For whatever flaws it makes, The Purge: Anarchy still, at least, satisfy the fans of the first Purge on how the Annual Purge really is going.
I personally think that The Purge (2013) is an ‘enough’ sign for a franchise; it’s already having a grand unique theme to tell (although the final result might not as grand as I imagined). Yet, The Purge: Anarchy is not a fiasco at all; it doubles the thrills and the suspensions of the first and it adds more anarchy within. The result is amazing; but, given the reputation of Blumhouse, I’d like to believe that there will be the third hit-or-miss Purge soon.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Action, Horror, Thriller Running Time: 103 mins Written and Directed by: James DeMonaco Starred by: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoë Soul, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez Rated R
Stills and references: IMDb