The Purge: Anarchy is a lesson in how to make a sequel count. The series is based on a fascinating thought experiment, but the first movie failed to capitalise on its central idea; instead of following the idea through, the premise was used as a backdrop to a mediocre home invasion movie. The Purge: Anarchy finally delivers on the core idea taking the action out onto the streets (where the Purge is actually happening). Moreover, the characters encounter a series of riffs on the core theme: a revenge plot hindered by compassion, homicidal domestic squabbles, a version of "the most dangerous game", a rebel pro-Purge army, a rebel anti-Purge army, and so forth. The latter is problematic inasmuch as their hypocrisy is not addressed: killing people under the protection of the Purge as a way of protesting against the Purge is so dubious that at least one of the characters should have voiced a concern... not least when one character states that she wants to stay with the anti-Purge army because she "want[s] to Purge". As a whole piece the film also struggles to maintain a cohesive narrative since the premise does not lend itself to following the same characters for 100 minutes. The film comes across as a series of set-pieces. That is fine, but the movie may have worked better as an anthology of sorts (perhaps an option for The Purge 3?).Those niggles aside, the sequel is much more satisfying and engaging than its predecessor.
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