R, 103 minutes
I’m always leery when a low-budget movie becomes a hit and then we see a sequel churned out a year later. The gestation time for most features films is about five years from conception to theatrical release, so most things done in a fraction of that time tend to be hasty and sloppy.
“The Purge: Anarchy” bucks this trend by actually being superior to its 2013 predecessor. While the first film was more a schlocky horror film edged with social commentary, the sequel falls into the straight action/thriller category.
If you’ll recall from the last movie, they’re set in the dystopian near-future where the United States has been taken over by a group of patriarchal dictators. Once a year they hold the Purge – a single night in which any crime, from assault to murder, is perfectly legal.
Frank Grillo, as the unnamed hero, is out for some sort of revenge. But when he sees some masked marauders threatening helpless folks, his better instincts take over. Soon he’s defending a whole group of victims from the ultra-rich puppet masters.
A ludicrous but effective mix of action, scares and 99-percenter outrage, “The Purge: Anarchy” is a catharsis from awful sequels.