Plot: The annual purge is at hand, twelve hours of sanctioned crime to exorcise the violence and hatred within. Of course, most citizens simply barricade their homes and hope for an uneventful night, like Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter Cali (Zoe Soul) plan to do. But when their apartment is assaulted and well armed soldiers storm the building, they are dragged into the purge. Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are a young couple who also want to avoid the violence, but when their car breaks down, they find themselves stranded at the worst possible time. Also on the street is Sergeant (Frank Grillo), but unlike the others, he is a willing participant and has a score to settle that the purge makes possible. But fate brings these five people together, when Sarge rescues Eva and Cali, then discovers Shane and Liz hiding in his car, so he winds up as their defacto guide for the purge. But even with a skilled leader like Sarge, does this group have a chance to survive the night?
Entertainment Value: The Purge was a passable thriller, but wasted the potential of the premise, as the real fun was out in the streets. In this sequel, we are taken out into those streets and get to be right in the middle of the purge. As such, this movie takes a more kinetic approach and packs in more violence and thrills, at the cost of character depth and development. The issue with that is we know so little about these people, which makes it a little tough to care about their survival. The loss of the freaks is also a shame, but we do get some creepy masked folks, just not ones on par with the freaks. The tone is mostly that of a thriller with some mild action scenes, with most of the violence related to guns. So if you wanted a down & dirty purge, this isn’t that, though some non gun moments pop up. I loved the approach of putting us in the purge’s hot spots, but with such milquetoast characters, it was hard to be invested. The performances are fine, but the cast just isn’t given much to work with, as the material is thin and relies on CGI blood over any kind of development. I still appreciated seeing the heart of the purge however and while not all that memorable, The Purge: Anarchy is still solid fun at times. So if you’re a fan of the original or just love wild chaos in the streets, this one is well worth a rental.
No nakedness. The characters are on a constant run for their lives, so no time to fiddle around with monkey business. A good deal of violence unfolds, but as is the usual for Blumhouse, it is almost all low end CGI. At times it isn’t too bad, since the shootings happen in an out of focus background, but other times the CGI looks like a cartoon, which undermines the grit and dark tone. I have no idea why Blumhouse seems to hate practical effects, but the CGI here does the movie no favors and puts a damper on the impact of the violence. I think bloodless gun shots would have worked better, at least then it wouldn’t be laughable. So a lot of shootings and splashy CGI blood, but it is more distraction than anything else. Sarge gives us some tough guy talk and the married couple has some fun dysfunction early on, but otherwise not much in terms of memorable dialogue. I did like the scene where Eva’s friend and her family engage in some wild dysfunction, however. The premise is still a fun, crazy one, but the serious tone and dull as dishwater characters prevent full on madness. Which is a shame, because the setting is ripe for all out mayhem.
Overall Insanity: 0/10