The Purge: Anarchy was underwhelming. Director James DeMonaco just couldn't help focusing his film around social issues rather than a good story. What could make The Purge: Anarchy better, other than a total rewrite?
HEAVY SPOILERS! HEAVY SPOILERS!
1. Take Out The Rebels or Create Some Awesome Action Sequences with The Rebels
Through the entirety of the film, there was foreshadowing of a Black Panther-esque rebel group. They sent viral e-mails out, they hacked the television monitors of the city, and they just kept popping up with their message of how the Annual Purge is meant to feed the wealthy. I had a feeling that this group would become the Deus ex Machina of the film, and it happened. Leo and his group of stragglers are stuck inside this demented rich people shooting gallery and the rebel group breaks in and starts killing the wealthy. Is that really the best possible entrance for a rebel group that has been foreshadowed since the start of the film?
The director had a chance to do something awesome with these rebels and he blows it. The rebels become a simple intervention so the main characters can survive. Let the main characters discover the rebels for themselves. Maybe they are rescued half way through the film by the rebels and start helping with the cause. There are a ton of better ways to introduce these rebels into the story.
2. Kill More Characters
I never felt that any of the characters were in danger. There were five characters in the group and only one died. He didn't die until the final act of the film. The people who did die were random strangers that no one cared about. The main character, Leo cheats death. He is shot at the very end of the film and when it looks like he is about to die, he just doesn't. He's shot four times in the chest, but he lives through it. Like I'm suppose to believe that.
Kill more of the main characters. You have some to spare. The creators introduce five main characters. The audience only cares about two, so keep those two alive and kill the rest. If you killed Cali's mother it would have been mightily helpful on character development.
3. Make This A Simple Survival Horror
This was not a simple survival horror. This was a survival film that was built to maintain director James DeMonaco's social commentary. There were more social issues in this film than actual story and character development.
Let's throw all that out and make a simple survival horror film. We didn't come here to learn about the politics of the Annual Purge. We came to watch violence. So bring the characters together, split them up half way through the film, have one turn on the group, and then save two for the end. It's that simple. This film fought at trying not to be cliched. I wouldn't have minded cliche.
The simple answer is for a total rewrite of the script, but that would be too easy.
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