The Purge: Anarchy

**1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Somewhere an interesting idea gets choked with blood and ends up like any other killer spree fearjerker"

The message is simple. Ethnic cleansing in the ghettos improves crime stats. For one day murder is condoned, even encouraged. The year is 2023 and it's official in the states of America where guns are second to God and vengeance has a name - The Purge.

This is a sequel. A year ago writer/director James DeMonaco had limited resources and so the action took place inside a house. Now the streets are the hunting grounds, as well as dining clubs for the rich where hijacked citizens are slaughtered for their entertainment.

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The film has a 15 certificate; it should be 18. The violence is gratuitous and the tension slots into the run-run-or-die category. In the tawdry tradition of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre spin offs, you have a small group of frightened people trying to survive the malevolent forces of evil.

The Sergeant (Frank Grillo) has an agenda, a collection of lethal weapons and a custom built armoured car. He has the look of an off-the-peg action hero - designer stubble, granite jaw, high cheekbones, limited vocab.

On his way to wiping out the man who killed his son in an auto accident, he rescues a mother and daughter from being dragged into the back of a van and later picks up an estranged couple who find themselves in the danger zone without wheels.

Essentially, this is a chase movie. The city should be like Syria on a bad night, but appears empty except for two gangs trawling for victims.

Ugly, nasty and sick is a fair description, added to the absurdity of posh voyeurs paying big bucks to watch strangers being shot to bits in a game of hide-and-seek.

Grillo has a certain star quality, which gives his character high marks in the watchability stakes, while the others are little more than scream fodder. Somewhere an interesting idea gets choked with blood and ends up like any other killer spree fearjerker.

Reviewed on: 24 Jul 2014
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Trying to stay alive on the one day of the year when murder is legal.
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