• The Purge: Anarchy

    Released By: Universal Studios
    Released On: October 21, 2014
    Director: James DeMonaco
    Cast: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejolo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez
    Year: 2014
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    The Film:

    It's the year 2023, and it's a wonderful time to be American. Crime is down, poverty is down, and everyone seems to be living the good life, thanks to a popular initiative of the New Founding Fathers; The Purge. Once a year, for one night only, citizens get a free pass to commit any crime they want, including murder. Shopped to the people under false pretences, the idea is that The Purge will consist of criminals wiping out other criminals, restoring a natural balance for the rest of the year.

    Though a fair number of deserving criminals are wiped out during the festivities, The Purge is also a shady government tactic to eliminate the poor. Gangbangers, thugs, and other unsavoury characters rent their protection services out to the wealthy, while those below the poverty line must trust their homemade barricades to stop unwelcome intruders into the home. As a further initiative, those un-wealthy citizens with family to provide for can sell themselves off to the rich, who can take part in The Purge by butchering these sacrificial offerings in the safety of their own well-guarded homes.

    With such insanity happening on the streets, it makes sense that anyone with half a brain or a conscience would be locked up tight for the night before the starting bell sounds, but that wouldn't make for a very interesting film, would it? Waitress Eva and her daughter Cali think that they're safe in their apartment until an unstable landlord breaks down their door, a moment before a heavily-armed unit of military-like invaders come through the wall, intent on getting the two girls on a prison truck downstairs; an 18-wheeler that's wired into the traffic cams and features a crazy-looking mofo in the back with a heavy machine gun.

    Shane and Liz are on the way to Shane's sister to spend the night and on the verge of breaking up, when their car breaks down instead, leaving them at the mercy of a roving masked dirt bike gang. They quickly learn that no place is safe to hide when they discover the back alleys and dumpsters full of corpses, and the building rooftops lined with snipers.

    In the not-so-innocent pile, Leo is taking advantage of The Purge to get some revenge against the drunk driver who killed his son and caused his marriage to break up. En route to the murderer's house, though, he comes across Eva and Cali and his half a conscience kicks in, prompting him to rescue the girls, returning to his car to find Shane and Liz hiding out. However, confusion over what to do next becomes more clear when his car is incapacitated by a monstrous volley of lead, and he takes Eva up on her offer to escort them all to her friend's house in exchange for a car. Along the way, they'll have to battle Purgers, entrepreneurs hoping to make some money on the side by kidnapping human sacrifices for the rich, and some surprisingly well-armed and well-connected assassins.

    I enjoyed The Purge: Anarchy quite a bit. Let's be clear, though, if you're expecting a movie that will provoke thought, or provide some mind-blowing revelation, well, this one isn't going to do it for you. What it will do is entertain for the running time, presenting some likeable and not-so-likeable characters, who encounter a number of believable and not-so-believable situations. The pacing is quick, the dialogue is not complex, the action is up there, and the score is full of those sweeping bass drops that are so prevalent in film today. The only thing that's kind of off-putting about the film are the politics, which are about as subtle as a kick in the teeth, and you get the impression that the filmmakers think they need to spell it out REALLY clearly...and who knows, maybe they do. But all in all, it's an entertaining flick, and that's not too bad at all.


    The Purge: Anarchy comes to Universal blu-ray in a 2.40:1 transfer that looks pretty fantastic for the most part. One issue, and I wasn't able to figure out if it was the transfer or the filming itself....whenever there's a flashlight (probably LED) or another kind of bright light during the dark scenes, the picture gets flare-ups all over it. It's not too bad when it's a quick scene, but during the walk through the subway tunnels it gets downright annoying.

    The DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track is pretty exciting itself, with lots of action in the surrounds and subwoofer, including those aforementioned bass drops, that will rattle every fixture you own. Despite this heavy-handed use of the 5.1, the dialogue is crisp and clear throughout, and the track is nicely balanced.

    There are two extras on the disc, if you don't count the slew of previews that precede the film. First up are 5 Deleted Scenes (7:59), that don't really do anything to add to the film.

    Next up is Behind The Anarchy (8:30), a behind the scenes look at the making of The Purge: Anarchy that features plenty of clips from the film, and interviews with the cast and crew on making the film, shooting on location, and so forth. It's an interesting watch, but a little short. A DVD and Digital HD version of the movie is included here alongside the Blu-ray disc.

    The Final Word:

    While nobody is going to compare it to The Godfather or regard it as the most important movie of whatever century, The Purge: Anarchy is a fun night in front of the television, and a good show-off disc for your surround sound system.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      Agreed about the lack of subtlety in the politics of the film, they're wielded with a sledgehammer. I liked it a lot anyway, really enjoyed the emphasis on action - whereas the first one was horror. One of the better modern franchises imo. Nice review!
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Thanks, Andrew! Haven't seen the first one yet....I'll be watching it this weekend.