Last year’s low-budget dystopian home invasion joint The Purge was hugely profitable. Produced four $3 million, it brought in $90 million world wide, which is why, barely a year later, a sequel will hit theaters next month. While the first film is rather divisive—some love it, some not so much—The Purge: Anarchy takes a different approach to the subject matter. They’ve delivered a new extended TV spot, and the film looks pretty nuts, like Mad Max meets Judgment Night.
The Purge is a relatively contained film and story, there aren’t many settings, and the character list is kept on the short side. That’s why it was so cheap to make. The action takes place in a futuristic world where, when crime was completely out of control, the government steps in and decrees that for one night a year, the so-called Purge, all crime is legal. According to the logic of the film, such a sanctioned release of humanity’s base urges, leads to a society where there is almost no criminal activity whatsoever.
While the first film showed a small slice of what life is like on this annual night of chaos, Anarchy expands your world view. Instead of being primarily locked in a house, they’re taking you to the streets, from the suburbs into the city, which looks like a post-apocalyptic urban war zone full of creepy masks.
Early on in the marketing for Anarchy, the plot looked like a couple of dumbasses get caught outside when their car breaks down just as the Purge commences. I was rather unimpressed with that set up, but since then we’ve seen more of what the film will be about, and that initial skepticism has changed. As it stands, this looks like a grim, vigilante revenge movie, and that is something I can definitely get behind. Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) plays a father who takes to the streets looking for a little slice of vengeance. You don’t know why, but it involves his son and I’m sure we’ll learn more about that in the actual movie.
The Purge has an informal, unwritten rule about not saving anyone else and not playing a hero. There are the hunted and the hunters; there ain’t no room for knights riding in on white horses to save the day. But even though he’s looking for payback, Grillo’s character isn’t a bad guy, he’s got a conscience, and when he sees people in trouble, he has to stop and help. And that is apparently when shit gets crazy and they’re forced to run the streets, battling hooligans every step of the way, just trying to survive the night.
James DeMonaco returns as director, and The Purge: Anarchy also stars Michael K. Williams, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, and Keith Stanfield. Originally scheduled to open on June 20, the release date has been pushed back until July 18.