Now this is what I’m talking about! Last year I saw The Purge. A rather crappy home invasion movie with a really good concept of everything being legal for a twelve-hour period of time in which basically the only thing you can’t do is set off a nuke or kill political figures. A year ago I said that this would be a great movie if they didn’t focus on some suburban family and focused more on what was going on outside in the country… Damn it, they listened to the advice of the people calling for this and gave it to us and I have to say that it did not disappoint in the slightest. The low-budget/high thrills action film about a city devolving into complete anarchy and directed by James DeMonaco has proven to be a far better movie to its predecessor.
Set in the year 2023, a mere few hours before the annual Purge, several people are seen either barricading their house for the up and coming night or preparing for a night of havoc and chaos which also includes an anti purge movement that hacks the television and issuing their own statements to the populace. For this Purge we follow the stories of several people forced into the Purge chaos. The first story is of a married couple Shane and Liz (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez). While traveling to Shane’s sisters to wait out the Purge, their car breaks down trapping them in the madness. The second of the couples is Eva and her daughter Cali (Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul). After Eva’s elderly grandfather offers himself as a Purge Tribute in exchange for $100,000, the mother and daughter are dragged out of their home during the Purge to be killed but are saved by tough cop with nothing left to lose Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) who is out during the Purge to take revenge on a man who accidentally killed his son some years ago. Through Leo, the four people unite and together must try to wait out the 12 hours in the streets as people continue to destroy the city around them.
I always give credit where credit is due when a producer or director listens to the pleas of the public and gives exactly what we asked for. The first movie was a great concept, marred by the fact that it focused on one poor home invasion story. The entire time most of us were sitting in the theater screaming, I want to see what’s going on outside! Let’s see shit blow up! Not some slightly better recreation of When A Stranger Calls. Sure enough in this one, we get the total Purge package and it is glorious! Explosions, gun fights, contests, people randomly with Gatling guns because fuck you that is why! It is amazing! This was what I was hoping to see when I first heard of The Purge a year ago and thanks to giving us what we want, it actually complements the original movie. It doesn’t make it better, but what it does do is open up the world for a great anthology series where we follow different stories within this one Purge. It is an excellent concept and one that I would pay copious amounts of money to see in the future. Home invasion stories, couple caught in the Purge, and so on and so forth. The possibilities are limitless and I am loving every second of it.
It is Fun Action B Movie
In a world where the best action movie that you can hope to see is either a Jason Statham movie or The Expendables trying to boldly not break their hips on screen, most of which are usually a prepackaged, campy PG 13 explosion filled/bloodless spectacle, it is nice to see a hard R action film hit the screen. Frank Grillo is an excellent action star who owns every second that he is on-screen with some good ole fashion action justice. The primary ‘villain’ if you can really call him that, Big Daddy (Jack Conley) is a fun and cheeky villain complete with aviator sunglasses and a fucking Gatling Gun!
This is the kind of movie that I have been missing in my life. All kinds of hard action fun wrapped up in a ‘fuck dialogue, let’s crash some cars’ style of fun. The movie is still decently written, though be it somewhat predictable and has something that every action or thriller junkie can get behind.
As much as I praise this film… I still can’t help but feel like I am not seeing the total package that The Purge has to offer. In a strange sort of way it feels to… structured. This is a movie about anarchy, and a premise that is in a sense, intended to be twelve hours of chaos and yet we still adhere to the rules of a film with a plot and a group of innocents caught in the mix. If I were to venture into the realms of ‘too edgy for a producer to touch with a ten foot pole’, I would advocate for a movie without a real plot to it. No real innocents to follow, but just watch the chaos unfold. Maybe follow a small group for the first part of the movie before jumping to a new group or just watch the movie from the eyes of a person watching television from their bomb shelter as news reports cover the Purge in detail. I feel there is something there that if they were willing to stick their necks out a little bit could give the full and glorious picture that the Purge deserves.
This movie is a lot of fun! It is a hard action thriller movie that gives us exactly what the people were clamoring for when the first movie came out a year ago. Frank Grillo is great in his role, it is well written, and it truly shows the chaos that twelve hours of lawlessness can do for a group of people. I would like to see a little bit more anarchy in the future installments, but as long as the series continues on the Anthology track, this will quickly become a favorite of mine.
Final Score 4/5
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. Glad to be traveling back to Athens in a couple of days and get back on my regular reviewing schedule. Thanks for bearing with me this past week.