Combustible Celluloid
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With: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoë Soul, Justina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel Gugliemi, Castulo Guerra, Michael K. Williams
Written by: James DeMonaco
Directed by: James DeMonaco
MPAA Rating: R for strong disturbing violence, and for language
Running Time: 103
Date: 07/18/2014

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

2 Stars (out of 4)

'Purge' Overkill

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The low-budget original The Purge (2013) made enough money to quickly justify a sequel, whether anyone wanted one or not. Whereas the original movie focused on a stressful situation, the sequel The Purge: Anarchy seems to be more interested in sympathetic characters. However, the ambiguous theme of the previous movie, the thought-provoking concept of whether the end justified the means, is now gone.

A year after the previous purge, Americans in the year 2023 prepare for the coming purge, a night of lawlessness, rampage, and murder that supposedly results in a healthier, happier nation. A waitress (Carmen Ejogo) and her spunky daughter (Zoe Soul) find themselves attacked in their own home. And a feuding couple (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) are stuck outside after their car breaks down. The vengeance-seeking tough guy (Frank Grillo) winds up rescuing the four of them, reluctantly agreeing to protect them, but intent on completing his violent plan. Who will survive when this night is over?

Unlike the original, the new movie is more purely black-and-white in its thinking. Here only rich, evil, greedy people participate in the purge. The movie brings up some surface platitudes about class inequality, and pays homage to more inventive movies, but nothing ventures very deep. Upsetting the balance even more is the camera-shaking quality of James DeMonaco's direction. Anytime a chase or a shootout is required, the movie simply turns to mush.

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