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article imageReview: ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ makes up for past mistakes Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 18, 2014 in Entertainment
In the sequel, ‘The Purge: Anarchy,' the film drops audiences into the middle of the bloodbath that this night unleashes, raising new and important questions while following a group of strangers’ struggle to survive.
When faced with a country on the verge of imploding due to rampant unemployment and crime, its leaders must find a resolution. A freebie night sounds excessive and the claimed extent of its effectiveness is questionable, but it is an intriguing premise. The Purge: Anarchy celebrates the sixth anniversary of "releasing the beast," taking viewers to the lawless streets of any city, USA.
In just a few hours, all crimes will become legal for 12 hours. Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are on their way home when their car breaks down just outside of downtown. Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and Cali (Zoë Soul) were under lockdown until they were targeted for some heinous act. Sergeant (Frank Grillo) is on a mission, but his sense of decency doesn't allow him to turn a blind eye to the horror that surrounds him. Now on the run from various hunting parties, the group bands together to try to survive the night against the hordes of blood thirsty killers.
This movie is what the first should have been. Rather than confine the audience's perspective to the interior of a single home, it takes them to the streets and throws them into the middle of the chaos. The previous view of this lawless night was sterile in comparison. Fear lurks around every corner as armed lunatics walk the streets searching for victims on which to unleash their pent up rage. For most it's not an opportunity for revenge against a specific foe, but a chance to get back at the world as a whole.
However, those who disagree with the right to purge are beginning to speak out and fight back. This movie begins to explore topics beyond fear and survival. A spotlight is shone on the politics of purge night and the ulterior motives of the New Founding Fathers. That's not to say this script is especially profound, but it does finally start to ask some important questions.
At the same time, the film frequently misses the mark. The opening and closing sequences are the most engaging, but the narrative loses its way in the middle when it chooses to focus on the group running from place to place. This is a pitfall often encountered in the zombie genre, which weakens the plot. In addition the picture walks the fine line between predictable and expected content, often leaning one way or the other.
The acting is relatively standard for this fare, though the performances are more convincing than annoying. As a result, viewers can experience the journey with the characters rather than wish for their quick demise through its entirety. Still, even they are at the mercy of the script that isn't wholly consistent as one character's choice to indulge is scrutinized and another's is practically ignored.
As the half-baked franchise continues, the next chapter will likely take on a more organized rebellion.
Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo and Zach Gilford
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