“The Purge” was a $3 million movie that ended up earning $64 million in the United States. That may make it the most profitable, yet hated movie of all time. Ask anyone who has seen it and they’ll tell you they didn’t like it.
But when a home invasion horror genre movie makes that kind of money, there’s little doubt that there will be a ham-fisted sequel and that is exactly what “The Purge: Anarchy” is.
“The Purge: Anarchy” takes place in 2022, one year after the Purge Day in the first movie. The United States is now being governed by the New Founding Fathers of America, which is either a foolish shot at the people that wrote the Bill of Rights or a new wrestling faction on WWE Smackdown.
Of course, in this completely illogical “utopia”, crime and unemployment are at all time lows. The reason believed for this is the yearly 12 hour period from 7 PM to 7 AM in which all crime is legal and people take to the streets to pretty much only murder each other.
The brain dead, one note characters are introduced so poorly that you can pinpoint who will and won’t survive to see the end credits. The nameless anti-hero (Frank Grillo) is loading a small arsenal, slowly putting on his bullet proof vest, and staring at picture of him and his family. It’s pretty simple to figure out why he is about to go out to join in the…fun?
We then meet Eva (Carmen Ejogo), a waitress at a diner who picks that night, of all nights, to stay late and ask her boss for a raise. Her daughter, Cali (Zoë Soul), is the stereotypical super smart teenager, but she’s poor so there’s clearly no way she’ll make it in this world. Eva needs the raise because she can’t afford her father’s (John Beasley) medicine.
The two other characters that get to join in on this “Ten Little Indians” recreation are Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez). In a movie filled with stupidity, these two rise above all others. Not only do they casually go get groceries about an hour before Purge Day starts, they take the long way home and avoid highways.
Naturally, they reluctantly find themselves out on Purge Night.
Director and screenwriter James DeMonaco abandons all subtlety when force feeding the agenda of “The Purge: Anarchy” down your throat. If only he had taken off the governor when it came to staging action scenes. For all the complaints about being stuck in a house in the first movie, DeMonaco sure didn’t take advantage of having free reign on the streets of Los Angeles.
There isn’t one action moment of note. Everything is a complete snooze and there are TV shows with better production value and direction. There is a chase scene in an empty subway tunnel that should be nerve wracking due to the sudden tight space. Instead, it’s nothing more than an excuse to show random insane people violently murder homeless people, while the previously terrified Shane and Liz pick up their machine guns and suddenly become urban Rambos.
That is just a taste of how preposterous “The Purge: Anarchy” truly is. Even the message that the rich are behind all of society’s ills is contradicted over and over again. The wealthy hire the poor to go out on Purge Night and capture people that are then auctioned off to be hunted. But what does this say about the people that agree to be paid for such a heinous and inhumane service? Aren’t they just as morally bankrupt?
DeMonaco’s screenplay also conveniently forgets that most of the sick and repugnant acts being committed in this hypothetical future are being committed by regular folks. It’s as if all of those disgusting things are okay, simply because the rich and the government are the root cause of it all.
It’s apparent that DeMonaco’s real evil mastermind behind it all is money. The government uses Purge Night to rid the country of the poor and the weak minded in an effort to thin out the herd. Oddly enough, DeMonaco’s screenplay is so naive that during The Purge, none of those taking part in it attempt to rob banks or steal for monetary gain.
If anything, the real enemies here are people, rich and poor. Shouldn’t everyone see just how morally wrong the entire Purge Night is and just not participate in it?
If “The Purge: Anarchy” was interested in provoking thought, it would have smartly presented itself showing necessary evils or the good things that all people, regardless of their situation, can do. If you want to see a movie that oozes that kind of intelligence, go see “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”.
Or you can go see “The Purge: Anarchy”. There is no doubt that the creative team behind it practices the hatred of money that it preaches, considering every dollar used to make this film was wasted.