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The Purge: Anarchy: When a Bad Movie Happens to a Good Idea

July 19, 2014

Purge Anarchy movie poster

The Purge 2 takes a good idea and wrecks the development of it with lazy screenwriting. The shallow script and paint by numbers class warfare make it nothing more than a cool poster and missed opportunities. It is not smart enough to be good satire and not dumb enough to be a grindhouse film. The iconic imagery of violent purgers are wrecked as the movie is explained away via expository dialogue and a group of people who have no problem speaking loudly whilst being hunted my murderers.

purge 2

The original Purge didn’t annoy me. It was rich on rich violence that kept it simple. Ethan Hawke made money on the Purge and he had to battle the rich entitled murderers who grew up in that world. It was simple low-budget cinema that established an interesting world. I liked the idea of the sequels expanded scope. However, the limited budget kept the set pieces from being able to deliver the shock and awe. The expanded scope hurt the film because it wanted to be all things. Also, world building is pointless when the characters are two-dimensional plot devices who inhabit a black and white political world. It will obviously get another sequel so why not expand the scope little by little? For instance, how did these guys become hunters? Why do they ride around on dirt bikes in a city full of snipers? Wouldn’t the cool masks hinder their ability to hunt?

The Purge Anarchy

The film is loaded with ideas and imagery yet never knows what it wants to be. It starts off well enough by introducing us to Frank Grillo’s vigilante. I could have watched him light up little punks for 90 minutes and been fine with it. However, he ends up saving four people and has to protect them for the rest of the film. The four people do him no favors by lying, yelling and always falling down at the worst moments.  The cast is solid and they’ve all done better work in better films. However, they are nothing more than scared people annoying Frank Grillo. They are also responsible for getting his badass Mad Max car blown up.

Purge Anarchy car

The plot of the movie centers around a night where all crime is legal. Rich people have mercenaries collect innocent bystanders so they can kill them in the comfort of their own homes. Gangs transform vehicles into death machines in order to murder anybody. The government/regime randomly kills people to lower the crime and unemployment rates. It is wholesale slaughter than constantly gets interrupted by whiny people who talk to much.

I would love to see what John Carpenter could have done with The Purge. They Live is a wonderful example of consumerism and government. He could have added intelligence to a great idea. The Purge: Anarchy is too clean and glossy. There is no personality and that is a shame. Films like Escape from New York, Mad Max, The Warriors and They Live had bumps and bruises that made them iconic. Purge 2 feels like a remake of all of these films. It reminded me of the current crop of remakes that are all good-looking actors and no grime. I did like this guy though. Total jerk but you understand how he could have become a baby mask wearing maniac.

The Purge Anarchy masked man

I did enjoy moments of the film and there are some very cool shots. There is a scene in the film where the heroes drive past a girl covered in blood. Is it a trap? What did she go through? Why couldn’t we have watched that movie? Her nightmare seems much more primal than the plight of the main characters.

the purge anarchy girl covered in blood

The Purge: Anarchy was ambitious to a fault. The expanded scope didn’t have the budget or vision required and it suffered because of that. Hopefully, the next film goes back to its roots and consolidates the carnage. We shall see next year when the inevitable Purge: Armageddon is released



3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2015 3:56 pm

    Yes, you would think that a dirt bike would be bad to ride through a city, but can does a car look as good as a dirtbike, no. Also dirtbikes can fit in smaller spaces such as walkways and sidewalks. Some are also much quicker than cars. By the looks of it, two of them are riding KTM Sx 450’s which have better acceleration that some ferrari’s.


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