** out of ****
Last year’s The Purge was a reasonably entertaining thriller about a future America where all crime is legal on one day a year. It was a hit, and now, a sequel is in theaters a year after the original’s release. One can’t help but wish they would’ve waited a little longer to try and flesh out some of the ideas.
While the original film owed a debt to Straw Dogs with its characters barricaded in a house trying to fight off invaders, The Purge: Anarchy resembles films like The Warriors or Judgment Night where a group of people try to survive a night’s journey across a hellish cityscape. Frank Grillo plays a stoic hero who’s out to avenge an injustice, but ends up looking after four hapless souls who, for varying reasons, are stuck outside during the chaos.
Overall, the film is more forgettable than bad. It tries to make points about the wealthy’s exploitation of the poor, but these thoughts aren’t fully examined. This could be forgiven if the movie were ceaselessly thrilling, but the action grows tedious after a while. A late effort to alter the setting is welcome, but it doesn’t come soon enough.