July 21, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy - Movie Review

The Purge: Anarchy works hard on social issues and character depth while missing out on actual purging.

The Purge: Anarchy takes place during the Annual Purge. Led by the revenge seeking Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), a group of innocent, bad-timed strangers must make their way through Los Angeles so they can find a place to hide and wait out the Purge.  I will admit, I came to see people die in glorious Purge fashion. What was presented was another low budget film that cared more about the location than the story. This film has a budget of $9 million, which seems enough to get B-list stars, a hundred aerial shots of Los Angeles, and permits to film downtown. The B-list did not disappoint. Frank Grillo entertains with his version of Liam Neeson-like badassery. Zoe Soul as teenager Cali Sanchez brings weight to what could have been an annoying, cliched kid character. The chemistry between Soul and Grillo works great and carries the film to the end. Unfortunately, the rest of the main cast falls flat as standby characters only there for plot conveniences.
DeMonaco enjoys choking down social issues. From capitalism to the healthcare system, the main story, yet again, is set aside so DeMonaco can present social issues. He does score with some. As I watched all the middle-class, teenagers, and poor kill or be killed, I was finding myself in the predicament of not caring. It wasn't until the third act when the people who perpetrated the killing went from the middle class to the wealthy upper class. A social issue that DeMonaco shoehorns, but nonetheless one that connectes. Watching hopeless people being auctioned off to trophy wives and old men wearing $10,000 suits was just awful, gross, pathetic, and more frightful than anything I've seen in the film thus far.

The Purge: Anarchy tries really hard at balancing social issues, character development and good story, but the foundations crumble quick.  Grillo and Soul were great and worked on keeping the film fresh and energetic, while the rest of the main cast fell to the waist side. Onscreen deaths were boring and underplayed and the film focused more on the location of the story than the actual story.

Good Qualities: Frank Grillo bad-assery, social issue of the sadistic wealthy hits a spot in my heart
Bad Qualities: Watching somewhat of a purge, the story, director was more worried about the location of the film than the actual story

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