HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Purge: Anarchy
HTS Overall Score:80
It’s very rare that a sequel can top its predecessor, especially a sequel that’s nearly as flawed as well, but seemingly lightning has struck twice. “The Purge” was a cheap little violent home invasion thriller that was made on a shoestring budget for a measly $3 million and grossed an amazing $89 million worldwide. It had its flaws, but for the most part was a fun little piece of ultra-dark slasher/thriller cinema. It didn’t seem like there was a lot of potential for growth with a sequel, but when a movie makes that much on such little investment, it’s bound to get the bean counters working on getting another one out. This time, they’ve opened up the world of the Purge a little more and given it some much needed room to breathe and explore the possibilities and repercussions that such a philosophy brings in the world. Made on an almost as cheap budget of $7 million, “The Purge: Anarchy” managed to make a worldwide gross of $109 million, even eclipsing the profit that the first one made, even with 233% the budget.
As we know from watching “The Purge” (Todd's review can be read HERE), the U.S. has less than 5% unemployment, violence crime is down, and everything is going hunky dory, all due to them implementing one 12 hour night a year where all crime is legal. You can murder, pillage, destroy and vent all the darkness in your soul during that 12 hours without any repercussions from the law, thus cleansing you of that violence and allowing the rest of the year for a much more harmonious living situation. Now, a year later, A group of people are thrust together to try and survive the purge. A police sergeant (Frank Grillo), a waitress named Eva (Carmen Ejogo), her daughter Cali (Zoe Soul), and a young couple (played by Zack Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) have only one connection, being caught up in the worst night of the year and the desire to make it out alive.
Our grizzled Sergeant is on a mission this night, a mission of vengeance, but his mission is cut short when he stops a group of highly trained men from killing Eva and Cali. Simultaneously our young couple, Shane and Liz, has their car breakdown just before the purge commences and are hoofing it on foot through town, only to meet up with the Sergeant, Eva and Cali. Promising him a car, Eva convinces Sergeant (that’s all we know of his name) to get them to safety first and then he can borrow a friend’s car. Now they have to survive the streets where roving military bands peruse, outwit a street gang and someone try to keep a semblance of trust between each other.
Once they arrive at Eva’s friend’s house, all hell breaks loose as that highly trained group of men that Sergeant took down have tracked them down once more. Now they’re out on the run again and this time they’re sold as “Martyrs”, which basically means they are sold as targets for the rich, transported to a secret house and then allowed to be slaughtered by the wealthy in safety. To make it interesting, the rich have decided to make it a game, put them all in a maze and have the select few hunt their prey, ala the short story “The Most Dangerous Game”. What they didn’t count on is the will to survive and the 5 targets soon become the hunter in a face off of epic proportions.
I was pleasantly surprised by “The Purge Anarchy”. I honestly didn’t think they could go any more in depth with the theory than they already did in the first movie. It seems pretty straight forward. Bad guys come after you and you defend yourself. Director James DeMonaco amped up the stakes, taking us outside of a home and onto the streets where it turns into a hunt or be hunted type of situation. Now the stakes are higher, as they try to weave in a tale of oppression, as the Purge turns out to be nothing but a way for the powerful to weed out the weak. Have the savage and poor people fight it out, because they don’t have the means to defend themselves like the rich can. Which in turn culls the population without anyone have to “exclude” or do anything about this “riffraff”. It’s an interesting theory, and is touched on a little bit, but this and a sub plot with the military just kind of fall a bit flat. In all honesty, the story wouldn’t have suffered one bit with those two sub plots being left out, as they felt tacked on and a little superfluous.
I was fascinated that they didn’t keep the same level of gore or up the level as with most sequels. Instead the amount of kills racked up is substantially higher, but the gore level is nowhere near the squeamish level is was in “The Purge”. Instead the film has a strange “Mad Max” meets “The Most Dangerous Game” type of story, giving the violence a softer feel and allowing it turn into a thriller/action movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still creepy at points, especially where the rich are auctioning off their captured pretty. The cold heartless nature of how they were just divvying up someone’s life sent shivers down my spine. As such, I ended up really liking this outing and think it ranks a full ½ star above “The Purge”. I almost rated it a full 4/5, but those superfluous sub plots detracted just enough to sour the milk ever so slightly. As with sequels that do well, yes, there IS a third “Purge” movie in the works and I’m sure it’s going to be bigger, and if we get our way, hopefully BETTER as well.
Rated R for strong disturbing violence, and for language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30545[/img]“The Purge: Anarchy” is a DARK film, as 99% of the film is during an overnight stint, so black levels are the first thing I looked for and luckily Universal had done quite a good job here. Shadow detail is exceptional, with only the most minute levels of black crush creeping in every once in a while. There’s a little bit of mosquito noise in a few scenes, but they are very minimal and only noticeable to those of us who are trying to pick apart an image. Colors are decently saturated, but still rather muted due to the dark filming environment. During the few daylight sequences, the contrast was a little boosted and given a kind of overly white and yellow tinge to the picture, seemingly stylistic at heart. Fine detail is still excellent, even among the darker scenes, which is an impressive thing to do as many a movie shot under these conditions do NOT turn out so well. The film is nearly perfect and really only suffers from those few minor afore mentioned flaws pertaining to crush and video noise, otherwise the movie offers razor sharp clarity and incredible detail.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30553[/img]The first “Purge” film had stellar audio as reviewed by Todd Anderson and I have to agree with him, as I felt it was one of the better audio tracks from last year. This year’s track is almost on par with the first one as its DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is wildly aggressive and full of raw, seething power. The audio experience starts out pretty mild, with some nice ambient noises in the surround channels, but really surges to life when the annual Purge begins and the blood starts flowing. Since “The Purge: Anarchy” is given so much more breathing room in terms of space, soundtrack opens up too, giving us wildly bombastic moments of gunfire and explosions that will rock you back in your chair. The surrounds are used nonstop, whether it be the simple rattling of can down the street to freak out our heroes, or the thunderous and continuous use of firepower that lights up all 5.1 channels with great aplomb. I felt the dialogue was great FOR THE MOST PART, but every once in a while I felt that the hand held cameras being used sometimes didn’t pick up some pieces of dialogue when they were on the movie. Not a wild deal, but it was slightly annoying to hear them running full tile and the dialogue start to fade as the camera struggles to capture the constantly moving audio from their mouths. The LFE is powerful and in your face, sometimes coming out of nowhere and knocking you back and there is one explosion in there near the final act (you’ll know it when you hear it) that totally flattened me in my chair and had my pant legs vibrating. Definitely a top notch audio presentation to match the video.
• Deleted Scenes
• Behind the Anarchy
“The Purge” was a gruesome home invasion thriller that had potential, and was quite fun in the right circumstances, but was met with mixed reactions. Now, as I said before, it’s rare that sequel eclipses its predecessor but “The Purge: Anarchy” expanded upon the premise of the original and actually pulled it off. It’s still not a perfect experience, but it was a fun movie that relied less on gruesome violence this time around and leaned more towards a bloody action flick, balancing the social lessons, with terror and some good old fashioned muscled guys with guns. If you’re not squeamish, I’d say it’s a good fun flick to watch. Definitely on my recommended list for Halloween.
Starring: Frank Gillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zack Gilford, Kiele Sanchez
Directed By: James DeMonaco
Written By: James DeMonaco
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 104 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 21st 2014
Buy The Purge: Anarchy Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Recommended for the horror/thriller fans
More about Mike