Movie Review: ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ [Spoiler Alert!]

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No matter how it sounds, the new Purge movie is not an infomercial for a high-fiber cleansing diet – although you may feel an urgent need to detoxify after you’ve seen it. The Purge: Anarchy, or Purge 2 if you will, is the second movie in this “franchise.” Both are based on a motif lifted directly from a Star Trek episode called Return of the Archons, which made its TV debut in 1967. Hollywood is sooo creative, dontcha think? In the dystopian near future (2023) of Purge 2, the US is controlled by rich white people. See, I told you that Hollywood is creative. Anyway, here’s what passes for a plot . . .

Under federal law, once a year everybody in the country is able to murder, rape, burn, pillage, litter and toss their recyclables into the garbage with complete immunity. It’s just like your average weekend in Chicago! All essential services, such as police, fire, EMS and alternate side of the street parking, are suspended — just like Detroit! So, people are on their own. Either they lock their doors, shutter their windows and try to ride out the Purge, or they tool up, go out and Purge by killing everybody they can. Mountains of dead people ensue.

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Hey, Purging isn’t as bad as it seems. As a result of all this government-approved thinning of the herd, unemployment is under 5 percent, almost nobody lives below the poverty line and homeless people are a dying breed – since nobody can armor-plate a cardboard refrigerator box. Everybody has beaucoup firepower, which must be good for the firearms manufacturers.

But if making guns is good business, being black or brown is very bad business during hell night. A lot of people of color get killed, and The Symbionese Liberation Army (or whatever they are calling themselves in 2023) doesn’t like it. On the other hand, evil white people are doing so well that they can actually indulge their pent-up taste for hacking terminally-ill black people to death with machetes without fear of repercussion, after the payment of a suitable, negotiated fee.

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In this half-assed morality play, five B-movie actors are caught out and about when they should be safely at home doing a few lines or playing Monopoly – a perfect choice since your average game usually lasts as long as Purge night. Four of the non-merry band are non-Purgers. They include a young, divorcing couple whose car broke down, and Eva and Cali Sanchez, a mom and daughter whose house broke down. The four are on the streets running for their lives through no fault of their own. The last man, named Leo, has a deep, dark reason for being out, and he’s packing. Heavily. He has a New York Times “arsenal” on him, and he knows how to use it.

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Frank Grillo plays Leo, and he’s pretty good, too. While nobody connected with this disaster movie will be walking home with a Golden Globe (unless they buy one) all the acting is solid from top to bottom. John Beasley as the terminally-ill future hamburger is especially effective in an all-too-brief performance. Then again, nobody here is performing King Lear.

Back to Grillo. His bug-out bag contains, at one time or another, his fave rave AKMSU, a Heckler & Koch USP .45 as his sidearm of choice, a Kahr K9, a Colt Python and sweet little H&K MP5A3. Not much ammo, though, since he never seems to be able to reload.

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Grillo needs his guns like Neo did when tried to break Morpheus out of the clutches of Agent Smith. Grillo is up against hundreds of maniacs armed with a Blaser R93, a couple of M2 Flamethrowers, at least three Dillon Aero M134 Miniguns, a couple of vehicle-mounted M240Bs, many MP5ks, AKs, M16s and pump shotguns, more KRISS Vectors than anyone has ever seen outside of the KRISS factory, and a lone Beretta 92FS that’s laying around just for giggles. There’s even a super-special mystery guest appearance by a lonely Kel-Tec KSG, making it one of the few KSGs to appear in the wild since the initial product announcement and the only one that actually works.

While the guns kick ass, the script by director James DeMonaco packs all the verve, panache and subtlety expected from an Adult Education creative writing class. Some of the movie’s visual themes seem to be derived from Walter Hill’s cult classic The Warriors and the story is lifted from the aforementioned Star Trek episode as well as John Carpenter’s They Live (without the sci-fi context), with a liberal dollop of The Most Dangerous Game to season a tasteless stew. And the dialog! Frankly, I can’t think of a single memorable line in Purge 2. In fact, I can’t think of a single line from Purge 2, memorable or otherwise.

Once the initial buildup of suspense is complete, Director DeMonaco keeps the action going. But the slow run-up to the fighting was enough to make me want to Purge. Admittedly, in most respects Purge 2 is better than DeMonaco’s Purge 1, but that’s like saying that Porky’s was better than Porky’s 2. Purge 1 set the bar so low that a pregnant copperhead could slither over it without losing a scale.

Still, despite the lack of data points, DeMonaco seems to be getting better and better as a director as he goes from Purge to Purge. At this rate, DeMonaco will be right up there with Ridley Scott by the time he directs The Purge 147.

All things considered, The Purge: Anarchy is probably the most anti-capitalist movie I’ve seen since Robocop. Because of the serious nature of Purge 2 it’s far more vicious. It’s also the most racially inflammatory movie I can recall.

In all likelihood, Purge 2 was supposed to be the most anti-gun film since Bowling for Columbine. There’s a bunch of blather about “the New Founding Fathers” that was supposedly designed to diss the Tea Party. Not seeing it. RF reckons the chief white woman baddie bears a remarkable resemblance to Hillary Clinton. I’m not seeing that either, which is just as well.

In the effort to demonize guns, DeMonaco glamorized them. In the effort to demonize the government, DeMonaco was more successful. His mostly brainless ballistic binge-and-purge production spreads the gospel of small government and big firepower. Amen.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Model: The Purge: Anarchy
Caliber: Low
Length: 103 minutes
Action: Plenty
Finish: Sappy and out of place
Price: A mere $9 million, which the film earned back in one night. It’s pulled in about $30 million to date, so we’ll be seeing more of this nonsense in the dystopian real future.

RATINGS (out of five bullets):

Style * * *
The script is lifeless and humorless. What passes for dialog is mostly a way to fill time between fights. The visuals were good. The guns and the gun fighting scenes were very good. The actors were extremely competent.

Reliability * *
Everything is totally predictable, except for the ending that tried to be uplifting. It was less predictable, which is the best thing that can be said about it.

OVERALL * *
It’s a message film disguised as an action-adventure movie. If you like the message, you’ll like the movie. I didn’t like either.

comments

  1. avatar Michael B. says:

    Only things I liked about the movie were Frank Grillo’s character, story, and all the guns.

    If it had just been about him without the political B.S. it would’ve been a decent action movie.

    But yeah, if they intended this to be an anti-gun movie they failed hardcore in that respect.

    In fact, the only line I really remember from it was “Where’s the gun?” when the psycho neighbor caught mother and daughter unaware.

  2. avatar Jim R says:

    I deeply regretted spending my hard-earned money on this claptrap.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I spent RF’s hard earned money on this claptrap and still regretted it.

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        I spent my hard earned money to go see “America”. And glad to have done so. A movie made by people with a brain.

        In a theater near you. http://www.americathemovie.com/

        1. avatar Jon says:

          Yeah, I thought that was some anti-American propaganda at first, so I wasn’t going to watch it. I haven’t watched it yet, but plan on it.

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    Sure why not? Maybe see it on Cinemax next year. A double feature with one of Arnold’s bombs. They Live was much more anti capitalism, anti white and full of s##t than Robocop.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      A double feature with one of Arnold’s bombs.

      There are plenty to choose from. And there’s a new Terminator due next year, starring Ahnold in the title role. I think it’s going to be called Terminator: Rheumatism. Or something.

    2. avatar the ruester says:

      I always saw They Live as anti socialist, along the lines of Bodysnatchers. As I recall, it ends with the hero destroying a TV sattelite (liberal media?) Then again, I was 14 at the time and generally rented it just for the 10 minute street fight scene.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        That was one of the best one-on-one fight scenes ever in the history of film. That scene, and “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass . . . and I’m all out of bubblegum. . . .” made They Live memorable.

  4. avatar Buck says:

    After seeing the trailer my first comment to my girlfriend “why would bad guys wait for a purge night? They wouldn’t.”

    1. avatar BDub says:

      I was wondering myself how after all the killing and fire-setting from the previous night would they deal with the looting and pillaging that would follow taking advantage of the over-burdened police/fire/ems departments? The Purge night itself would be laughable compared to the aftermath. I assume in the liberal mindset that this fantasy exists in, people would just go back to obeying the law when the night is over – just get right back to work improving the economy by fixing all the broken windows, as it were.

      1. avatar TheBear says:

        Yeah – I like how we’re supposed to believe that after all the evil that happened the night before, there wouldn’t be any revenge sprees the following week. In the words of Stephanie Tanner, “Puh leeeze!”

      2. avatar CentralIL says:

        Yep. A common assumption (particularly on the left) is that peaceful civilization is the natural state to which humanity ultimately reverts. The truth is much less pleasant. Humanity’s natural state is anarchy and barbarism. Our civilization is an unnatural anomaly which requires careful upkeep. It is much easier to descend into anarchy than to rise out of it again.

        1. avatar BDub says:

          That is not at all what I said. And i don’t agree with it.

  5. avatar BDub says:

    Liberal Hollywood glorification two of it most popular lies; Laws create morality and the most beaten of horses, the Broken Window Fallacy….ugh!

  6. avatar Michael Nieto says:

    Bravo for actually sitting through this garbage movie

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      You asked for it, you got it. And you’re gonna get it 🙂

      1. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        Good and hard!

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Uh, that just doesn’t sound right. No sir. Not right at all.

  7. avatar J Ball says:

    I watched the original. And I compare these films to the philosophical argument that John Locke & Hobbes had. Locke saying we don’t need monarchy/government we can govern ourselves and Hobbes saying without monarchy/ govt. The world is a vicious place “blood in the streets”. This is basically the purge. If big daddy govt isn’t there to keep the peace. We will slaughter minorities and everyone else. Of course in reality most people would just be at home watching tv w/ their AR / AK at the door. People think the Wild West was a bloodbath and actually it wasn’t as bad as Hollywood likes to portray it.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      The difference between Hobbes and Locke is not that great. They both agreed that the state of nature is solitary, brutal, nasty, poor and short. Hobbes wrote at the high point of the rule by divine right, while Locke said the people are capable of governing themselves through a social contract. The difference between a traditional Libertarian and a faux Libertarian is an allegiance to Locke/Hobbes versus Rousseau.

      1. avatar Ken says:

        Damn, beat me to it. I was gonna say that!

      2. avatar Ralph says:

        Keep your Locke and Hobbes. Give me Calvin and Hobbes.

  8. avatar Dryw says:

    Whatever happened to the “vote to see what Ralph views next” community poll suggestion?

    I fully endorse such an endeavor. Especially if it encompasses titles such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or 22 Jump Street. Anything that so much as shows a picture of, or makes so much as an oblique reference to, a firearm is fair game methinks.

    You’re welcome Ralph.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      Seconding Ninja Turtles remake.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      I’ve already taken one for the team, Dryw. I see no reason to make a habit of it.

      1. avatar Dryw says:

        Fine… a compromise then:

        Go retro. Escape From New York. Reservoir Dogs. Ronin. Boondock Saints.

        Ralph’s Rancorous Retro Reviews. It’ll be a thing…

        I’ll have my people call your people.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Tremendous movies all! Including the under-rated “Ronin.”

      2. avatar IdahoPete says:

        Go WAY retro – review “Zulu” with Michael Caine. “Men of Harlech, stop your dreaming, don’t you see their spear points gleaming …” “At one hundred yards, volley fire …”

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          An outstanding movie that respected the Zulus as fighting men as much as it did the Redcoats.

        2. avatar The Brotherhood of Steel says:

          Yes. Zulu. One of the greatest movies.

        3. avatar Another Robert says:

          “Awwwwwl right, nobody told you to stop working!”

  9. avatar Deadeye says:

    I would rather spend my money on ammo.

  10. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    I’m disappointed. The Chipotle Ninjas are much more interesting.

  11. avatar Steve in MD says:

    So… if you manufacture a NFA item during the Purge, is it still legal afterwards?

    1. avatar T M says:

      Does Leo’s AKM-SU have a tax stamp or not? That’s no Sig arm brace back there!

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      They’ll nail you on possession of an unregistered…

  12. avatar BR549 says:

    Most people these days are using movies, by default, to replace the campfire analogies of times past to stay on top of the survival, philosophical, moral and ethical issues that surround them. Barring the wise tribal elders from actually teaching members of their own tribes any meaningful skills, people, today, have been flocking to the movies and videos to get that information …….. however right or wrong. Barring any truthful or meaningful information, the people will seek out whatever is out there.

    These movie-goers, then, are looking to see how the movie scripts are conveying logical survival strategies that those people have no experience within the own lives. The danger, here, is that unconscionable movie producers listening to unconscionable politicians could be giving the public intentionally erroneous information and false hope.

    The point I’m trying to make is that the flurry of interest in this survivalist movie genre isn’t just a casual curiosity. It’s related to both gun advocates purchasing more guns and with the incessant need for anti-gunners to try to feel safer by taking those very same guns away. People are looking for workable survival models and, hopefully, seeing how other people address these issues under stress might provide them with some measure of hope.

  13. Rotten Tomatoes gave it only 56%, earning it a “rotten tomato.”

    68% of audience said they liked it.

  14. avatar Nighthawk says:

    This is an idiotic movie. The idea people turn into raving lunatics when laws are suspended is bullshit for two reasons. The first one being plenty of people whom are unstable, violent, criminally-minded will act on their emotions, or coldly conclude the only solution to their problems is violence and murder, despite laws being in effect. The second is this obtuse notion that the only reason people don’t eat each others brains in cannibalistic insanity is because of government, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. History has shown that religion, and government which acts in the same capacity as religion, takes normally upstanding citizens, and turns them into cold-hearted mass murderers because they’ve been indoctrinated with the “righteousness” of their behaviour. This is just liberal insanity. Morality has an evolutionary benefit that existed far before governments and religions. There’s a reason why even during the messiest of kills, wolves don’t rip each other apart. Governments job is to keep the peace by having the power to prevent the bad people in society from getting away with their criminality, which exists regardless of laws. Most people will continue to be good, cooperative individuals working symbiotically with others: that is how societies and civilisations started.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      You need to spend some time in an ungoverned area to see how full of it you are.

      1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        It sort of depends where you are. When the big Palm Sunday Tornado hit Southern Adams County by Berne, the area was totally devastated and without power. LEOs were not effective. National Guard did not deploy for days. No crime problems, but the population was predominantly Mennonite and Apostolic Christian. When the power went out in NYC, total chaos ensued.

        1. avatar big blue says:

          That’s not an apples-apples comparison.

          According to Wikipedia the population of Adams County is 34,000 and Berne is 4,000. It’s homogenous and largely Amish.

          You’re comparing that to NYC with a population of over 8.3 million? I assume you are referring to the 2003 blackout?

          If the number of say.. looting incidents was 1 per 10,000 people (just making up a number), then we would expect 3 in Adams County and 830 in NYC.

          There were only 6 deaths attributed to the blackout, and per this NPR article NYPD stated arrests were lower compared to the same time in 2002. Now granted those are not perfect statistics, and certainly crimes occurred, but it was hardly anarchy.

          http://www.npr.org/2013/08/11/210700217/how-a-massive-power-outage-sent-people-dancing-in-the-street

          I get that it’s romantic to think of small towns as all full of hardworking, untainted people; but you don’t have to look far to find corruption and crime there. It just doesn’t get reported as far as the interested audience is smaller as are the crimes. A small town govt that siphons away $50k would have siphoned $500k or $5million if their budget had been bigger. It doesn’t make them less corrupt; just the opportunity smaller.

  15. avatar John Doe says:

    Jeez, Ralph. You don’t like poorly acted, meaninglessly action packed movies with next to no dialogue that try to pretend that they have a message? What movies DO you like nowadays?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Well, The Lego Movie was something to build on.

      Purge 2 was actually well-acted.

      1. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

        I recommend Rifftrax Live. One’s coming up in August.

      2. avatar Rifleman says:

        “Well, The Lego Movie was something to build on.” What you did there. I see it. I must admit……I love it, I love it a lot.

      3. avatar John Doe says:

        EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!! Well, ecxept for Purge 2. And Hi-Points. And is it just me, or are these movie reviews getting progressively worse? Eh, they’re all really just excuses to relax for 2 hours.

    2. avatar Rich Grise says:

      I want to see “Planes.”

  16. avatar Shire-man says:

    Without reading the review and knowing nothing more than the one TV commercial I saw I’m guessing somebody gave too much money to produce a crappy B movie that could have been at least fun in the style of Death Race 2000 but instead took itself too seriously and crashed into a heap of bullshit.

  17. avatar PeterC says:

    I have the other KSG that works.

  18. avatar Roll says:

    “Purge 1 set the bar so low that a pregnant copperhead could slither over it without losing a scale.”

    Ow…that bad? I was gonna take the neices to see this the other day, thanks for the warning.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      When I saw Purge 2, the audience was more than half female. Go figure.

      It’s rated R, but the violence wasn’t all that gory. We’ve seen much worse.

  19. avatar Gene says:

    So it’s a documentary about Chicago or Detroit?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Basically, but with less violence.

  20. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “Because of the serious nature of Purge 2 it’s far more vicious. It’s also the most racially inflammatory movie I can recall.”

    Interesting how the rich Hollywood liberals tend to enshrine their own fantasies in the movies – they project their own murderous urges on other people, so they want to ban other people from owning guns. Similarly, they project their racism on the rest of us. Take a look at the national news shows and the list of major Hollywood producers/directors. Do you see any African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, or other minorities represented in those “halls of power”?

    1. avatar big blue says:

      I’d say that’s more an American racism thing than a leftist thing, watch CNN International or other news broadcasts abroad and you see similar views represented by a more diverse audience.

      Not that the American right is any better. Fox News and Republican party much?

  21. avatar miforest says:

    they will not be getting my $ . why do all these hollywood types get it so wrong? in times of danger, most people come together to help each other, not attack each other. Note: orderly (mostly) titanic evacuation.

    1. avatar Drew says:

      You will note hollywoods titanic focused almost entirely on violence drama and treachery.

  22. avatar GReg says:

    You may be a gun nut if you recognize the majority of the guns on the faux Merican flag.

    1. avatar Nagurski says:

      I’m only having trouble with the pistol on the second stripe and the revolver on the last one. What do you guys think? HK USP and Schofield Model 3?

      1. avatar IdahoPete says:

        For some reason, the revolver on the last stripe doesn’t seem to look like a Schofield – it seems to lack the rounded profile of the hinge at the lower front of the frame, and the rear sight seems to be too tall for the Schofield latch/sight area. It is a bit too fuzzy to be sure. Could it be a Colt or modern Ruger with a Bisley grip?

  23. avatar Tim says:

    Don’t dis the KSG, mine works just fine.

  24. avatar Yellow Devil says:

    You can tell how vapid left-wing ideology is when the director tries to base the movie on the underline premise that “guns are bad”, but the protagonists in the movie end up using guns to defend themselves.

  25. avatar DrVino says:

    “… more KRISS Vectors than anyone has ever seen outside of the KRISS factory…”

    – but more or less than in the Collin Farrell version of “Total Recall”?

  26. avatar bpcoop19 says:

    I don’t see how this movie could possibly be considered anti gun. All the good guys use guns to defend themselves at one point or another, including evil, black, assault weapons. They even have a militia of sorts using rifles for their intended purpose under the 2nd Amendment; to fight back against tyranny. If ever there was a movie to outline the importance of the 2nd Amendment this is it.

  27. avatar Noishkel says:

    I never got around to seeing the first flick, let alone this one. But I heard it described by a former friend by him that it was supposed to be what happens if the TEA party gets in power. Given what’s been said in this review that could have been what the makers of this thing were going after.

    That being said this former friend I speak of is a Canadian by way of New Your City. And he’s a former friend given that he couldn’t open his mouth without trying to turn every conversation into a tirade against the political right. I always had to set my BS filters on maximum when every he said anything. Kinda got tired of that, after a while.

  28. avatar Micah Rubin says:

    My nephew talked me into seeing that cinematic masterpiece. He still won’t make eye contact with me. Thanks for taking one for the team, Ralph. Just wish you had posted your review last week. Dangit.

  29. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Darned fine review Ralph. Sitting over here laughing at it and the comments.
    Thanks!

  30. avatar Paco says:

    News flash-all futuristic movies today are dystopian, and it’s not an accident. Its called predictive programming. Wikipedia actually gives predictive programming a good explanation, but at same time calling it conspiracy theory….oh gosh, or surprise, surprise. Anyone awake around here?

    1. avatar Drew says:

      Nearly al future based movies have always been dystopian to some degree. Star Trek tries to present an alternative future but the cinematic versions almost always revolve around cataclysmic plots. If future fiction as always focused on a conflict ridden story dose that not simply reveal something about human nature rather than some fuzzy idea about predicting the future? All stories from fairy tails to haughty artistic productions revolve around conflict.

      1. avatar Paco says:

        Star Trek was one of the pioneers in the pop culture social conditioning/engineering experiment. Even its producers publicly admitted this. Conflict is different than dystopian. Why have nearly all nearly all futurist movies had dystopian views? That’s the question.

  31. avatar Broken 3ight says:

    Ralph I love you. Never change ok?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Thanks. And I rarely change, so we’re good!

  32. avatar JW says:

    “Under federal law, once a year everybody in the country is able to murder, rape, burn, pillage, litter and toss their recyclables into the garbage with complete immunity. It’s just like your average weekend in Chicago! All essential services, such as police, fire, EMS and alternate side of the street parking, are suspended — just like Detroit!”

    I actually laughed out loud when I read this. Then I laughed out loud again when I got to the detroit line. Keep up the great (and subsequently hilarious) movie reviews!

  33. avatar JoelT says:

    I thought we had a government sanctioned purge night that comes once a year? It takes place just after Thanksgiving, it’s Black Friday at Walmart.

  34. avatar Big John says:

    I always enjoy when gun guys review movies. They have a singular perspective on film, and it’s always the same. Liberal Hollywood sucks. Liberals hate my rights. Hypocritical Hollywood uses what they hate the most to make the most money. Liberals suck. Liberals can kiss my hairy gun owning ass. Which really, is all true.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Thanks to advanced genetics and centuries of good breeding, my hindmost part is relatively hair-free.

  35. “It’s just like your average weekend in Chicago!”

    HEY! We’d never throw recyclables in the trash. That would be wrong!

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Sounds like a typical liberal big city on the weekend. Fits Chicago rather well though.

  36. avatar Peter says:

    Note to self: Don’t run out for beer and chips ten minutes before the Purge is scheduled to begin.

  37. avatar DBPolice says:

    I didnt think Robocop was anti-capitalist. A big corporation made robocop and put him on the street to save the Detroit PD’s public image and fight crime. It made the police look pretty pathetic before robo came along. The bad guys were drug dealers, and the one corrupt OCP executive who was gloriously “FIRED” (literally) in the end. The new Robocop makes police look even worse because they threw in some dirty police officers and the corrupt chief, with an additional helping of what appears to be a fascist media.
    Maybe I just see everything in a way that makes sense to me only.

  38. avatar CarlosT says:

    The thing that really annoys me about this premise is that the obvious thing to do is for some ambitious general to kill the President and assume power on Purge night. All crime is legal, right? So why not Presidential assassination and treason?

    Hollywood thinks so small sometimes.

  39. avatar JDav says:

    I find this fairly offensive, my KSG runs great 🙂 lol

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