The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

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Remember, he's not The Punisher.
Remember, he’s not The Punisher.

Twitter Plot Summary: On the annual Purge night, where all crime is legal, one guy heads out to seek vengeance.

Five Point Summary:

1. The Punisher on Purge night, apparently.
2. Let’s just arbitrarily throw all these people together, shall we?
3. All families are homicidal, it seems.
4. The rich are horrible, horrible people.
5. Morning. Long night, that.

The Purge was a surprise hit last summer, set in a world where one night a year all crime is legal and citizens head out onto the streets to kill with impunity. That film was contained to a single family home and the assault that befell them from a group of privileged youngsters looking to bump off a former military veteran who had taken refuge there.

This time we’re on the streets on the night of The Purge. A year has passed since the home invasion horror and the scale is decidedly larger than its predecessor, showing the horrors on the streets and the lengths people will go to on Purge night. It highlights all of the usual issues about human existence, that we are by our very nature an aggressive species no matter how we may appear on a day to day basis. Unlike the original film, Anarchy goes into much more detail regarding the world they now live in, the New Founding Fathers and the methods used to control both the levels of crime nationwide and the number of people living in poverty. It goes without saying that they don’t just give them a blanket and directions to the nearest shelter.

For a film that was made in less than a year, Anarchy is a very accomplished piece of work. Any film made in such a short space of time lives or dies on the strength of its script, and thankfully it’s a confident and occasionally gripping tale where Frank Grillo’s grizzled Punisher-infused antihero stops to help a mother and daughter whose apartment block has been raided by masked bad guys. He also inadvertently picks up a couple who are being stalked by a street gang and escorts them all to safety. At seemingly every corner they are stalked by both the street gang and a lorry which has a mobile command centre and massive

He looks like a friendly chap.
He looks like a friendly chap.

The budget may be quite tight when compared to other action thrillers, but it either doesn’t show on screen or has been cleverly masked through smart editing and choice of angle. There are moments of increasing tension and, despite much of it being signposted in advance, still retains the ability to draw you in. That and, because we don’t know the characters beforehand, there’s always the possibility that somebody could die suddenly and the plot could take a twist at a moment’s notice.

The story successfully expands upon the premise established in The Purge, fleshing out the political and social ramifications of Purge night and by extension asking questions about current political policy in the US in particular. The political angle may be horribly overblown and slapped in your face like Monty Python’s fish slapping dance, but at the same time as a concept it’s an intriguing one that warrants further analysis and consideration – no doubt this will come in further sequels and/or prequels. There is perhaps a little too much in the way of convenient plotting for Anarchy to be truly remarkable, but in all other respects it’s a polished piece of work that revels in its premise.

Score: 3.5/5

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