The Purge: Anarchy is a follow up to the 2013 hit that got audiences talking about the idea of The Purge and how it relates to society today. Once again written and directed by James DeMonaco, the sequel stars Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoë Soul, Kiele Sanchez, and Zach Gilford.
A few hours before the annual Purge begins, people are scrambling to get to their homes and what they hope will be a safe 12 hours hidden away from the violence and mayhem that is about to take place. Meanwhile, hordes of others are awaiting their opportunity to commit any crimes they want with no punishment consequence of any kind. This is how a corporate run government explains the success they have had in reducing crime and poverty across the entire nation although a secret organization hopes to reveal The New Founders of America's true intent for this annual night of anarchy.
This movie will instantly remind you of classics like The Warriors and Escape from New York and, while it may not have the staying power as those iconic films, it does manage to hold its own with a solid story and minimal down time between the action sequences that are the reason you want to watch the movie in the first place. DeMonaco takes as little time as possible when it comes to introducing the characters who, in the grand scheme of things, really aren't that important anyway. Frank Grillo, who is the star of the film, plays a man with ill intent who ends up leading a group of people through a gauntlet of machine guns and machetes.
Compared to the first installment in what is sure to be an ongoing series, the action and scale of Anarchy is much bigger and way more explosive. You know you're on to something good when you have semi trucks filled with squads of special ops type soldiers who all have gigantic piles of weapons at their disposal. I would even say the story is better even though I watched the movie with basically zero critical intent. If you take this movie seriously, you will be doing it wrong. Even the film makers know they are making a movie that is just on the left side of being absurd so they actually play off of that fact by adding in some very welcome comedic elements that keeps the whole thing from falling apart.
I am actually a little surprised to say that I really enjoyed this movie. Grillo plays the gruff and unassuming hero role quite well and does a nice job of adding to a resume that will no doubt have him reaching much loftier heights over the next several years. The Purge: Anarchy is worth your time as long as you go in with the right expectation. If what you are looking for is a basic and predictable story line filled with lots of running, yelling, exploding, chopping, stabbing, punching, and shooting then you will be very happy when the closing credits begin to roll.