The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

(On Cable TV, June 2015) Even after two movies in which to explain themselves, I still think that the very premise of The Purge series is nonsensical, perhaps even moronic.  Twenty-hours of unpunishable violence?  Yeah, I’m sure that’s going to solve problems.  Still, even the least impressed reviewers will admit that The Purge: Anarchy goes much farther in fulfilling its ambitions than its prequel: Writer/Director James DeMonaco at least has the guts to try something more challenging.  While the first film was a glorified home-invasion horror movie, the sequel is a pure thriller, much of it spent running in order to avoid the violence of The Purge.  Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul make for a compelling mother-daughter pair of protagonists stuck in a bad situation.  Still, they can’t do much to raise the level of a film content in hitting the same targets with unsubtle bluntness.  Its attempts at social conscience (in acknowledging the The Purge weeds out the weak to the benefit of the powerful) don’t seem particularly well-developed, once again mistreating a high-possibilities premise into nothing much more than a pretext for ludicrous suspense.  While The Purge: Anarchy works on a basic thrill-machine level, it quickly becomes frustrating as soon as we have time to start asking questions.

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