run time: 103 mins
considered: Action, Horror, Thriller
director: James DeMonalo
starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul, John Beasley, jack Conley, Noel Gugliemi, Castulo Guerra, Michael K. Williams, Edwin Hodge, Keith Stanfield, Roberta Valderrama, Miko Nicotera
movie summary: It’s 2023 and America is a changed place, once a year for 12 hours, The New Founding Fathers government sanction an event called The Purge. All criminal activity is legal including murder, muggings, robberies, and anything else anyone can commit between 7pm and 7am. The event is meant to cleanse the streets of the poor and less unfortunate people while allowing higher income families to cleanse themselves of the guilt of their riches. This year marks the sixth anniversary of the Purge and through out the past five years, a lot hatred has built up which could lead the sixth installment to be the bloodiest yet.
One of the first characters we meet goes by the name of Sergeant (Frank Grillo), he sits in his house double checking all his guns so they are ready to go. He puts on his bullet proof vest and stares at the pictures on the wall. He is on a mission tonight to right the wrongs of the past, he’s out for revenge and nothing will stand in his way. On the other side of town Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo) comes home to her daughter Cali (Zoe Soul) and father Papa Rico (John Beasley). She works at a diner for little to no money so she pay for her dad’s medicine because is really sick. When they lock down the house in preparation for the Purge, Papa Rico sneaks out to get picked up by a fancy limo and is taken away. Shane (Zach Gilford) and his girlfriend Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are at the grocery store picking up a few last-minute supplies when they encounter a group of Purgers scouting potential targets for later in the night. All six of these people do not know each other but within a few hours will rely on each other to make it through the night.
When the siren signals the start of the Purge at 7pm Sergeant drives around his armoured covered police car scanning the streets for his target. Eva and Cali find out their dad is gone but don’t have much time to grief when their building manager breaks in to kill them. While an argument breaks out at gun point a team of SWAT guys raid the building looking for people to sacrifice to the rich. Eva and Cali are kidnapped but put up strong fight when the Sergeant pulls over to help them escape. Shane and Liz meanwhile had their car’s power steering and electrical cords cut so their car breaks down a few blocks from the store. When they look at the damage the group of Purgers find them and scare them away on foot. They run across the streets and find shelter in Sergeant’s car before they get ambushed by a guy firing armour-piercing rounds from the back of a truck. The group are forced to become friends to survive once the car dies and they need to find a safe place to hide.
The five of them move slowly across the city hiding in the shadows and avoiding areas that are populated with Purgers committing all sorts of violent crimes. Eva calls a friend who has a car and offers it to Sergeant in exchange for him to lead the group to safety. They make their way into the business district where the streets are empty except the group of Purgers who have been following Shane and Liz and the truck that has been tracking Eva and Liz. Sergeant leads the group down in the subway station where they can find shelter and safety in the dark tunnels. Unfortunately for them they run in a different group of Purgers who drive ATVs down the tracks armed with flame throwers. After a brief gun battle that ends with some minor injuries the group reach Eva’s friend’s house.
Back in a safe place for the first time in hours they regroup and clean up. Eva promised Sergeant a car but there is none, she played him to get her daughter to safety and before Sergeant can get furious a gun fight breaks out in the house. The five of them manage to survive the gun fight and make their way downstairs and out the building where they get kidnapped by the group of Purgers who has been stalking Shane and Liz all night. Instead of killing them, the Purgers bring them to a slaughter auction where a dining hall full of very well dressed high-class people are biding on them to have a chance to kill them. When the auction ends the five of time are thrown in a dark room where they try to stay calm and figure out how to escape. Time is running out for the group to survive because the gates open up and the people who bought them enter the room armed with machetes, knives, and guns.
my thoughts: The Purge came out in 2013 and was a unique new concept that provided movie goers with great potential only to give us pure trash. The movie was successful enough though that the studios decided to give us a sequel, The Purge: Anarchy. After hating the original one so much I was worried this sequel of sorts would follow in the same foot steps, but the trailer painted a different kind of picture with a whole new storyline and cast of characters.
The story about a group of untrained people surviving on the streets during the deadliest night of the year is actually quite gripping and thrilling. Even though each character is prototypical to these kinds of stories, you can still find yourself getting behind them and rooting for them to survive, and just when you think you have the story figured out you get thrown a curve ball. There are many surprises that keep you engaged with the story and always second guessing it’s path.
Some of these characters are just stupid, like any horror movie, and make decisions that you wish you could just slap them in the face for but that’s all part of the fun with these movies. There’s no point in telling their back stories because it’s not really that important, people only need to know enough about the characters that they are all different and have to put those differences aside to survive.
The lead character for the movie is Sergeant played by Frank Grillo. He has developed a solid career as the supporting actor with rugged tough guy looks which makes him a great casting as Sergeant, the guy with a chip on his shoulder. He may never become a leading star like Arnold or Stallone but by the end of his career he should have a long list of roles in successful movies.
my final thoughts: If you hated The Purge as much as I did you really need to give The Purge: Anarchy a chance, it was a much better sequel on so many different levels. Hopefully the next movie improves even more with the storylines and characters and helps The Purge become a successful franchise.
my star rating: 5 out 10
imdb.com: 7.3 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 53% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 2 out 4