Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Murder, mayhem, preaching... and an utter bore

Purge sequel a rush job that's lost social satire

  • Print
Violence still rules in sequel to The Purge, but original’s message has been purged.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS Enlarge Image

Violence still rules in sequel to The Purge, but original’s message has been purged.

The clever conceit behind James DeMonaco's 2013 sleeper hit The Purge was not that American society had resolved its crime/inequality/population problems with an annual free-pass-for-murder "purge." It was that this hell night came home to roost on isolated, gated suburbanites, ostensibly liberal people above this annual bloodletting, immune to its impact, but benefiting and even profiting from the mayhem -- until it invades their community and their homes.

The Purge: Anarchy abandons that sly and disturbing message for a straightforward quest -- people trapped outside when the annual "release the beast" commences, people who fall in with a bloody-minded man, bent on vengeance. It's preachier, more diverse in its casting. All of which make it more specific and limit it. Throw in generally lacklustre performances and illogical plot twists and Anarchy is seriously crippled.

It goes wrong right from the start, with the title. Years into this annual purge, it's become widely accepted. Anarchic? No. There are organized gangs, piling into armoured school buses, 'roid-raging skinheads and tractor-trailers full of jackbooted thugs. Images of the Rwandan genocide, or of packs of gun nuts toting their semi-automatic weapons through discount stores come to mind.

"Stay safe," everybody says, but most don't mean it.

A black revolutionary by the of name Carmelo (Michael K. Williams of The Wire) is preaching against the purge, calling it a racist method the rich and powerful use to cull the minority population.

But all waitress Eva (Carmen Ejogo) wants to do is keep her daughter (Zoe Soul) safe for the night and her aged dad (John Beasley) out of trouble. Then trouble blows down their door.

Liz (Kiele Sanchez) and Shane (Zach Gilford) are a bickering couple who only want to finish their shopping and drive home. But their car is sabotaged, and when darkness hits, black kids in whiteface with machetes and machine guns are after them.

One scowling stranger (Frank Grillo) has armed himself to the teeth, armoured his Dodge Charger and set out for revenge this night. But these people in jeopardy fall into his path and interfere with his plans.

Purge 2 is more overtly about race and class as our mixed group of five tries to make its way to the safety of dawn (when The Purge ends) without getting slaughtered by a mysterious "army" or murderous oligarchs or black revolutionaries. It's closer to a sermon. And it's very close to being an utter bore.

DeMonaco, who has written thrillers such as The Negotiator, plainly was given this sequel order as a rush job and the lack of polish shows. Characters act against their self-interest as well as their morals. They stop to bicker in deadly situations and clumsily act as if they've read the dull, tin-eared script and know they aren't in danger in this sequence, so they can chatter and traipse through this alley or down that subway tunnel without a care in the world.

To a one, they're blasé, only summoning up rage or terror once or twice in the third act. We don't care for any one of them, and Grillo plays his hard-hearted killer with barely a hint of wit or heart.

That reduces the film to a first-person shooter video game with a dose of politics added. Maybe that's the only way to experience Anarchy, with the viewer doing the shooting. Let's hope DeMonaco has a piece of the spinoff game action, because The Purge has pretty much run its course as a violent big-screen social satire.

-- McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 18, 2014 D7

History

Updated on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM CDT: Adds photo

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy on his team's win over Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new school-zone speed limit?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google