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'The Purge: Anarchy' takes the savagery to the streets

Poster art for 'The Purge: Anarchy.'
Poster art for 'The Purge: Anarchy.'
Universal Pictures

'The Purge: Anarchy' Movie

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Much like the “Saw” films, it looks like Producer Jason Blum plans on making it an annual summer tradition to visually take part in “The Purge.” I’m sure many critics and audiences were surprised when the modestly budgeted $3 million horror flick made almost $90 million in its theatrical run. I found the first movie to be a thrilling study in one of the most frightening concepts a devious mind could come up with for a countrywide “holiday.” “The Purge: Anarchy” takes the concept to a whole other level.

Where the first film kept audiences in the confines of one home, “The Purge: Anarchy” puts us out in the streets of the big city where a group of characters must rely on each other to stay alive through the night. It’s a journey through madness as the group of survivors makes their way through the deadly streets, alleys, and subways of the metropolis. It becomes all too apparent that nowhere is safe on this terrifying and vengeful night.

While it’s the natural progression from the first movie to the sequel, I can’t help but feel it lost a certain personal charm the confines of one home and its family provided. That being said, the characters are brought together quite sensibly and in a manner that is believable even if it does seem convenient at times. They’re well-established and give you some personality to latch onto and become emotionally involved with.

“The Purge: Anarchy” reminded me of “Judgment Night” in the beginning. Everybody is running around the streets trying to survive one attack after the next. However, it switches gears and starts getting a bit political as it strays into territory explored previously in Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” and an independent film recently released entitled “Butcher Boys.” It was written and produced by “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” co-creator Kim Henkel and explores the different classes humanity is broken into and how they treat each other.

When first taking it all in, “The Purge: Anarchy” seems to have trouble figuring out where it stands or what it’s trying to say morally. What I came up with was that guns don’t kill people. People kill people. That sounds like a rally cry for the NRA and Republicans everywhere. On the flipside, I felt another politically correct message was being given. It doesn’t matter why or who you kill. It’s still killing and still wrong. Both ideas have their merits.’

“The Purge: Anarchy” is rated R for strong disturbing violence and for language. Honestly, the movie is nowhere near as graphic as it could’ve been. People get shot, stabbed, beaten, and ran over. It’s really no worse than anything we’ve seen in any of “The Expendables” movies.

I couldn’t help but snicker at a few scenes in “The Purge: Anarchy.” Producer Jason Blum is seriously obsessed with the “found footage” concept. Every movie the guy has worked on finds a way to fit shaky-cam shots somewhere. Here we get a cam mounted on a motorcycle filming the driver as he races around the city. There’s also surveillance, night vision, security, and traffic light footage people use to track their victims as they scramble around on the streets.

“The Purge: Anarchy” doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor. At the same time, it is entertaining and keeps the audience’s attention through it’s fast-paced energy and edge-of-your-seat thrills. It gives people who wanted to see more of what went on in the cities exactly what they craved. I’m just wondering how they’re going to follow this one up next year.