Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Purge: Anarchy - review

Last year saw the birth of a potential new franchise with The Purge, which had at its core a fantastic concept:

In 2022, across America crime and unemployment is at an all-time low. This is due to the New Founding Fathers of America introducing the annual Purge, where for once a year for twelve hours all crime (including theft, rape and murder) is completely legal. The idea being that people can unburden themselves of negative feelings and repressed urges.

The first Purge was a tiny, insular fare, with one family under siege in their home trying to survive those twelve hours.

Due its box office success, a sequel was greenlit along with a bigger budget, thus allowing writer-director James DeMarco to move out of one house in the suburbs and into the big bad city to see the full extent of The Purge at large.

It sees three separate groups out in the city (some willingly, some not) who begrudgingly team up to try and survive the night.

The socio-political context behind the idea gets explored more this time round, with it not only the annual event allowing for a purging of one's soul but also a purging of society with the majority of those killed being the poor and homeless as they can't afford to defend themselves.

There is a commentary on the whole 1% culture with it taking on a Running Man vibe towards the end as the lines between violence as sport or entertainment become blurred, along with a rebel group opposed to the Purge.

Frank Grillo is the one who gains the most from The Purge, not only getting revenge and redemption but cementing his place as a real action star. Not only can he do anger and rage but there is a real pathos and sadness behind him too which makes for a conflicted anti-hero.

The Internet is right and if he wasn't already playing Crossbones in the Marvel Universe he would be absolutely perfect for The Punisher if they redo it as a Netflix TV series.

It might not have the desired release you are looking for but if you have the urge to Purge, you will have quite a night's entertainment.

3 stars

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