Writer/Director: James DeMonaco
Universal, out 17 November
Once a year, laws are suspended and anything goes – not a night you want to be caught out on the streets…
The sequel to The Purge extends the focus of that first film (which concentrated on the effects of the lawlessness on one family) to the whole city of Los Angeles, and tries to deal with some of the criticisms of the original by suggesting some of the sociological changes that would be necessary to create the Purge, and how it would be taken advantage of by those less scrupulous. Unfortunately, it does that in the most unsubtle of methods, and that element vanishes for much of the middle portion of the film.
During that, Frank Grillo – recently seen as one of those pursuing Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier – becomes something of a Frank Castle (the Punisher) figure in this, out on the streets for revenge because of the killing of his son. He ends up assisting two sisters, who have come under attack in their apartment and then been captured by official looking troops, as well as a young couple whose car has been sabotaged by a gang eager for targets once murder becomes legal.
This motley crew encounter various different groups, all out to kill them, as well as becoming embroiled in a domestic dispute that goes way beyond the normal boundaries, and learn some nasty secrets connected to the Purge, and those who promote it. There’s some suspense along the way – although not as much as there could be; some obvious opportunities are lost – and a lot of gunfire… towards which characters have a disconcerting habit of running!
The ending is a bit of a cop out on a number of scores, particularly after the us vs. them set-up which is returned to in what should really be the climax to the film, which makes me suspect that writer/director James DeMonaco didn’t really know how to finish things satisfactorily. It’s certainly more ambitious than the first Purge, but doesn’t take things half as far as it should.
Verdict: If it’s meant to be a Robocop-like satire, it fails, but as an action-adventure, Anarchy ticks sufficient boxes to be entertaining while you’re watching – if utterly unmemorable thereafter. 6/10