The Purge: Anarchy ***

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“The Purge: Anarchy” is the sequel to last summer’s “The Purge”. The premise is the same. The future America now endorses an annual holiday where for 12 straight hours all crime is legal, including murder. This apparently allows people a release from all the rage and violence they keep bottled up inside. The first movie focused on a family that was trying to survive a home invasion but this time we follow some different characters as they try to survive the streets which are basically a war zone.

The main character is Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) who is out to murder the man who killed his son while driving drunk. When he comes across a young mother and her daughter his conscience forces him to intervene and save them. He also decides to help a young couple who are on the run after their car broke down on the way home. Together they must survive roaming gangs, drunk snipers and savage killers.

The events this time take on more of a straight forward action thriller than the horror elements that dominated the first movie. There are a lot of fire fights and chases. I enjoyed this a bit more than the original to be honest. It is interesting to see the normal world turn to chaos once the inaugural horn fires up.

I also liked the political elements that were shown this time. The rich people are shown paying local street thugs to kidnap victims for their private auctions. Innocent people are then thrown in to a sort of giant rat maze where they can be hunted. I was reminded a bit of “Hard Target” where the wealthy paid a high price to hunt homeless people for sport.

As a summer thriller this works. It hints at larger themes but never truly explores any of them which is kind of a shame. It is still a horrifying vision of the future that should cause some mixed reactions.

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