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    September 23, 2014


    Welcome to the Annual Purge – an event where rules do not matter and some common sense practically cease to exist. While the concepts brought forward by this franchise are intriguing and bold, but at the end of it, there are too many questions left unanswered and no clear cut boundary truly established. Last year’s The Purge was so damned by its own existent. The claustrophobia and chaos muffled from typical home invasion thriller were mostly laughable for its absence of logic, thrills and smart dialogues. Fortunate enough, the sequel seems to have set itself differently and substantially delivers a movie that we really wanted to see in the first place – complete anarchy.

    If you are looking for something to appreciate, this movie is the answer you are looking for. It is generally acceptable that the sequel works much better than the first one. The overall improvement in this sequel is largely due to the “better” script and purposeful plot by writer-director James DeMonaco. Instead of grounding the whole picture in a house (which did not work last time around), DeMonaco improves the appeal by taking the Purge concept out into the streets. Consequently, the story raises the stake higher and executes the thrill with clear conviction. What is more important is “The Purge: Anarchy” makes the whole bandwagon journey a serviceable one and it does not overkill itself to become one potent B-movie that knows when to thrill. But then and again, you may spend more time arguing if this whole concept is entirely plausible or not.

    The last year’s first movie introduced the social and political commentary with the Annual Purge working out as the mechanism, but it failed to put them into proper use aisde from the repetitive television you heard on the background. In Anarchy, however, these elements essentially become the main driver for the whole story and it makes up a lot of differences to the tones and settings. The whole set-up of the purging event is also benefited with plenty of new elements that give the story more interest and ideas. Occasionally, we see the characters embroiled in threats as they stick together to avoid the street gangs, government-sanctioned hit squads, weapon-wielding mercenaries and elitist-sacrificing cult members – all of these are bloodthirsts that give the movie more senses and layers to represent the society at that point.

    The movie also make use of the variety of shooting games for audience to look forward for, particularly the indoor private hunting game which paints a different experience up to the exploitation. The actions are shot with grit and effectiveness, but are also too “tame” when it tries to create bloodshed. DeMonaco’s also directs the action sequences with accurate intensity but often ends up being sloppy in some of those.

    Despite improving significantly over the predecessor, the sequel lacks of empathy and sympathy. The sequel, much like the first one, cares very less when it comes to provide the characters with motivation or reasons to endur. Backstories are run merely across the board and without much emotional attachment to root for. With the exception of Frank Grillo’s character, whom is given the most elaborate details in the form of morality dilemma and dark history, the characterization of the others are unfortunately quite stagnant. You may end up not rooting for any of them and could not care much if they do survive the night.

    And even if the sequel does decide to explore on the conflicts and morality behind the Purge, substantially given by its strong rich vs poor and social discrepancy; it provides very little to really give you a clearer picture of it. Instead, of course, you can sense how this franchise going to move forward and it only a matter of time before a possible “war” and “outbreak” will serve as the conclusion.

    “The Purge: Anarchy” is surprisingly a vast improvement over its tepid and imbecile predecessor, as it offers better plot idea and actions to round up the B-movie tone it generated, but never a smarter and plausible concept movie to churn out.

    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 3.5
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 12.0/20.0

    "The Purge: Anarchy" stars Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Michael K. Williams. It is presented by Universal Pictures; directed by James DeMonaco from his own screenplay. The movie is rated 18 and was released in Malaysia since September 18, 2014. The movie runs about 104 minutes.
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