The Purge –Anarchy is a sequel of sorts to The Purge. I say of sorts because really all that they share is the same premise. Both movies are based on the idea that sometime in the near future, the USA falls into obvious fascism and becomes controlled by a nebulous and all pervasive regime known as The New Founders of America. Their main policy seems to be that once a year, murder is legal. Apparently other things are legal as well, but neither movie focuses on this as ‘insider stock trading’ makes for a less thrilling movie that legalised homicide. The Purge didn’t do that much with the premise; it was a fairly by-the-book home invasion movie with a really interesting back-story. The Purge –Anarchy however far surpasses its parent movie, exploring the implications of the Purge policy to logical extremes.
The plot follows Leo Barnes (Grillo) a man with a grudge who intends to use The Purge as an excuse to kill someone who wronged him. A funny thing happens on the way to his revenge and he ends up rescuing two women from some suspiciously well-organised purgers. At the same time, he picks up a young couple that has been unlucky enough to be out after dark when the purge began. The result is a whistle-stop tour of the sort of things that could happen on a day like The Purge. Not only do we get organised street gangs but also we get creepy military types, rich people organising their own murder parties and domestic violence going up to another level entirely. Despite being filled with political satire, excellent acting and some very profound key scenes, it is still a B-movie; a very well done one, but the premise and direction keep it at the level of a high-paced action thriller and not much beyond that. It has a very video-game style feel, right down to the colour pallet.
Grillo puts in an excellent turn as the main protagonist, and interestingly isn’t the focus of the story. The Purge Anarchy realises that the most interesting thing about it is the The Purge itself, and all of the characters, even the single white male with military training and a grudge, comes second to the setting. It’s quite refreshing to see the focus on the none-action hero types, and this makes the world easier to believe. This approach sets the movie above the usual gritty action movie fare, though it’s worth pointing out that the actual premise keeps at the B-movie level throughout.
If you felt The Purge could have been better, then you won’t be disappointed by its successor. The DVD and Blu-ray releases come with a few unremarkable extras, but then this really isn’t the sort of movie were you need that sort of thing. A worthy addition to your action movie collection.