When you think of films where people are caught on the streets at night and things are about to go down; classics like Escape From New York, The Warriors or Assault on Precinct 13 may come to mind. Although these legendary films have a great following, a new entry has been brought to the screen and could easily garner a cult all its own - THE PURGE: ANARCHY.
I can't say that Anarchy will become a classic as other films of the same kind. But I feel like it has several moments of craziness to get there. For those that don't know, The Purge: Anarchy is the sequel to The Purge. A story set in the near future where a new US government has been established by the 'New Founding Fathers'. An annual event called The Purge was created to allow citizens to unleash all the aggression and murderous tendencies during 12 hours on a single night. Every crime is legal including murder. There are no police, no fire and rescue, no public assistance of any kind. If you're rich you can afford protection for your home. That was shown in the first film. But if you are on the not-so-rich side, you just have to try to live through the night. And you certainly don't want to be on the street during these 12 hours, unless you want to participate in the purge.
I appreciated the concept of first film, but The Purge was missing a few things. Mainly that it didn't show the ramifications that such a dystopian future would foster. The Purge: Anarchy took care of all of that! The film starts out with three different points of view of people preparing for the purge. One is a couple that's traveling to a relative who has a safe home to wait it out. Another was a waitress and mother who can't afford heavy protection for her, her daughter, and her elderly father in their small apartment. The third player is a man that wants to participate in the purge, though his reasons are not as simple as some of the maniacs that show up later in the film.
I appreciated most of the actors and performances in this film. Particularly Frank Grillo and Carmen Ejogo who sold their symbolic roles representing the two sides of the purge, those of predator and prey. And to his credit writer / director James DeMonaco created a few villains that would be great choices for Todd Toys. Keith Stanfield as 'Young Goul Face' definitely deserves a figure. Just another word about Frank Grillo - I could easily see the influences of Snake Plissken, Mad Max, and for a spit second, even Terminator. It's been going around the net that Grillo could even be The Punisher if they decide to make another film. If he bulks up, I'm all for it.
What makes this film work is how DeMonaco blended the visuals of rats caught in a maze with the feeling of constant danger around every corner. Tension never really let up because even when you thought the characters were safe, you had the uneasy feeling that things weren't quite right. DeMonaco turned the cityscape into a night-lit jungle filled with beasts great and small. Adding to it was the unfolding of the true nature of the purge. Who was the purge really for? The general population? Or was there a more sinister purpose?
But as much as I liked certain things about The Purge: Anarchy, there were some predictable moments that played a little cliche. Not that the story could go in too many directions, but there were some things that could have been thought out more. Not a big deal though, because the film delivered some nice little surprises.
As you watch The Purge: Anarchy a terrifying thought might come to mind. If the government fell into the wrong hands, this crap could possibly happen! It's the constant warning of all Sci-fi dystopian stories that we that have a conscience need to keep our asses vigilant, and not let small and power hungry groups take over.
Geek Soul Brother gives it 3.75 out of 5 Cosmic Afros. 364 Days until the Next Purge! Your Government Thanks You.