Last year when the mediocrely-written abomination that was The Purge came out we called it a “well-made film that is based on an entirely stupid and completely untenable concept that hinges on the high-concept premise of a legalized release valve for the violent tendencies of human nature.” While we’re not so much backing off from that observation, we are most decidedly calling this year’s sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, an incredibly awful, poorly poorly-conceived, and totally untenable concept. Sure, sure not all good movie concepts could actually come to pass, but still, the core concept of this film is so far outside the realm of probability that we’d sooner believe in talking dragons, Norse gods, Santa clause, the Easter Bunny nad the innocence of Richard Nixon.
Yeah, this idea is crap.
It is based on the fact that once a year, for a specific 12 hours everything, up to and including murder is actually legal in the United States. Meaning that its apparently open season on everyone. Not just those folks caught outside during “Festival” but anyone caught by anyone who wants to do anything. Yeah, that is really beginning to sound as stupid to you all as it did to us the very first time that we heard it. Seriously, think about it. Arson, rape, murder, mass murder, all of it, perfectly legal, with absolutely no repercussions (even after the 12-hour window has closed). No you might just say how much damage can be done in just 12 hours, well, consider this.
My boss is an A-Hole, so I’m going to drive an 18-wheeler through his front door, torture and kill his kids, rape his wife and (under-age) daughter, burn his house to the ground, loot his business, castrate him, then start to get truly creative. Are we starting to frighten you yet? No, well how about this… We are a disgruntled member of the armed forces, so we co-opt an F-14 Tomcat, SR71 Blackbird, B1-Bomber, Abrams A1-Tank or the even the access codes to a bank of ICBMs sporting nuclear warheads, and declare a jihad on, well everyone who isn’t us. (Think that couldn’t happen, well you haven’t heard about the (pair of) shootings at Fort Hood in Texas, or the U.S. Naval yard in D.C.)
Then, instead of satisfying ourself with the neighborhood liquor store or the nearby military base, we decide to take out the Golden Gate Bridge, The Empire State Bridge, The White House, The Pentagon, or, you know the Kremlin (Hey Putin, you can’t get mad at us and retaliate, that happened during the Purge and well, you know, oops…) Like that’s gonna fly, eh? Even if any of those previous scenarios are perhaps a tad far-fetched, just think of the amount of damage several band of roving hoards hell-bent on the ultimate form of “Mischief Night” that we couldn’t do as kids these wildings can do. Hey, it has been nearly a decade since Katrina and still New Orleans hasn’t fully recovered. Think how we as a nation could possibly recover from that level of damage every year.
Yeah this is an abysmally stupid concept and is tantamount to the kind of “Torture Porn” that the Saw films have perpetuated upon the viewing public. Story is officially dead and so are “Event” films. We just want to see pandemonium up on the screen, the 21st Century version of bread and circuses. Having said all of this, will we actually force ourself to be subjected to this drek, yeah, probably, but only so we can once again tell you what a Stupid F#cking concept it is, and how we are horrible people for even allowing it on (digital) celluloid.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.