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A high-concept remains lowbrow in ‘The Purge: Anarchy’

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The Purge: Anarchy

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It is time for this year’s purge. Will the beast be released?

The big question about the remake? reboot? re-envisioning? “The Purge: Anarchy” is: is it better than the first one.

Audiences experienced such a colossal disappointment with the first installment. The idea was incredible, but the execution was abysmal.

What would happen if all crime was legal for 12 hours?

James DeMonaco returns to the idea with a re-imagining of how the tale could have gone. “The Purge: Anarchy” features an ensemble cast readying to lockdown for the night.

Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo), a waitress goes home to her rebellious daughter, Cali (Zoë Soul) and ailing father. Across town a man, Sergeant (Frank Grillo) saddles up for the purge, an ex-wife begging him not to do it.

A young couple on the verge of divorce gets trapped out in the mayhem and many prepare to be the mayhem.

“The Purge: Anarchy” is much better than its predecessor as it goes into the streets for this year's purge, but is still splintered in its execution. The new film wants to continue to make a statement about economic inequality and the dangerous appetites of the rich. Instead of allowing that statement to be a part of the subtext, “Anarchy” repeats the mistake of blatancy. It muddles what could otherwise be a cool foray into survival and the predatory nature of the human beast.

It’s unfortunate to have such a high concept paired with such predictable storytelling, but “Anarchy” remains a laugh-fest bereft of mystery or sympathetic characters.

The action is improved as we move from story to story and they merge the lives of the hopeful survivors, but in the end “The Purge: Anarchy” remains incomplete.

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