Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review: The Purge - Anarchy

World of Blackout Film Review

The Purge: Anarchy Poster

The Purge: Anarchy
Cert: 15 / 103 mins / Dir. James DeMonaco
WoB Rating: 2/7

Let's not dick around, The Purge: Anarchy is hammily written, exploitative, straight-to-video, button-pushing, revenge pron, based around a concept which didn't quite work last time, and is no more or less convincing in the sequel. The arch sermonising of last year's introductory episode has all but disappeared, and the exploration of guilt, resentment, peer-pressure and pack-mentality has scarpered along with it. All that's left behind are the victims of violence, its perpetrators, and a group of radicals who are going to beat the system by joining in (no, seriously). Director James DeMonaco also hopes you've seen the first Purge film, because he doesn't waste a lot of time in here with the whys, hows and wherefores; he kind of assumes you're here for the murders.

Scattered over the top of this 100-minute melee is some good old-fashioned Capitalism-Fuelled Paranoia™, the likes of which I haven't seen since Society or They Live. Ironically it's not out of place, since there was a feeling throughout the movie that someone behind the scenes was enjoying this far more than me. Do you remember how it felt when you watched Saw II, and noticed that the writing had taken a back-seat while the set-pieces and loud bangs were doing the driving? That. The fact that this un-numbered sequel has landed 12 months after the first one also hasn't escaped my attention, and doesn't bode well for the future.

The only saving graces of The Purge: Anarchy (and even these are debatable) are that 1) whereas the first act suggests that James DeMonaco has some serious issues with both women and ethnic minorities, this is later expanded to him apparently hating all of humanity; no-one, irrespective of race, creed or class, escapes this debacle unscathed, and 2) the screenplay's dearth of ambition creates a morality-free enclosure which it's quite happy to sit contently within; because if you're not trying to make a good movie, you can't really fail, right?

Leaving aside the mechanics of the purge itself, this could be any low-budget, machine-gun-toting actioner with cardboard characters it can't quite bring itself to care about (so why should the audience?). Even with the people and situations we're presented with, there was a better film to be made here, although I'm sure that DeMonaco will keep flogging this particular horse for its sins.

If I seem like I'm being unduly harsh, it's because I'm genuinely quite disappointed. The Purge wasn't a perfect film, but had some interesting ideas and at least asked some pertinent questions about the world we live in. The only question 'Anarchy' asks is 'how much longer can this go on for?'

Is the trailer representative of the film?
That's about the size of it.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
I jumped when there was a protracted silence followed by a telegraphed deafening noise; does that count?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
If it does then it's a worse film for it.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
This will be in the £3 basket in Asda in less than a year. You can wait until then.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Strangely, I probably won't. And I have no idea why.

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
I didn't hear one, which makes no sense as it's one more scream (and there are a LOT) that the film-makers would have had to source from elsewhere.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Does the Purge take the USA's time-zones into account? I don't think I've seen this addressed in either film. Because couldn't you like, hop over the border for an extra hour's killing come 7am? What happens if you're on the side of the border where it's 6:15am, but you shoot someone on the 7:15am side? What about the US embassies in other countries? They're classed as American soil, right?
No wait, James, answer my questions!

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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