However, you don’t have to have seen the original to enjoy the sequel. The movie takes place in 2025, when the American economy is strong and unemployment is low. The government attributes this success to the fact that for a 12 hour period once a year everyone is allowed to release their inner daemons through the Purge.
During the annual Purge all crimes, including murder, are legal. People can use any type of weapons up to “class 4” (which is never specified). However class 1 through 3 weapons are plenty powerful, since they include knives, guns and machine guns.
The process seems to work. People use the annual Purge to get all the evil hatred out of their systems. It is the time to act on every secret desire you have kept hidden. Time to take revenge on anyone who has wronged you.
The social theory, of course, is that people are basically evil and the only thing you can do is to limit that evil to as short a period as possible. People have an animal need to purge themselves so that for the rest of the year they can at least pretend to be civilized to each other.
If you saw the original The Purge in 2013, be prepared that The Purge Anarchy, although it takes place in the same world, is a completely different type of movie.
The Purge was more of a physiological drama. It was about a well-to-do White suburban family which tries to sit out the Purge in their secure home, knowing that the violence is happening in other people’s neighborhoods. Slowly as the film goes on, the violence comes closer to and eventually into what was they thought was their protected environment.
The Purge Anarchy, on the other hand, follows the “rules of sequels”. It is a Hollywood tradition that a sequel has to have more action, more blood and a higher body count. The Purge Anarchy has all of these. Be prepared for the fact that this movie is extremely violent and has a huge body count.
In fact, the high body count is one of the main plot themes of the movie. Unlike the first movie, this takes place not in the White suburbs, but in the projects populated mostly by poor African-American and Hispanic families. These groups cannot afford high-tech security systems, steel gates and private guards. Consequently a much greater percentage of them get killed each year on Purge night.
An underground radical group is preaching that the real reason for the annual purge is to simply kill as many poor and minority people as possible. It has nothing to do with psychological release, it is a pure matter of economics. The less money you have the more likely you are to get killed. If you are homeless and living on the street you don’t have a chance.
The movie is exciting and filled with action and tension. However the one problem with the movie is that it really does preach. All the wealthy white people are shown as uncaring evil monsters. On Purge night the wealthy actually purchase poor people so that they can kill them in the comfort of their suburban homes or at well-appointed supper clubs. At times you feel like shouting at the screen, “OK- we get it. Rich people bad. Poor people good.” It is as if somehow Occupy Wall Street got a budget to make a movie.
However, despite its flaws the movie is still fun to watch. We give this movie 3 Stars. If you want to see a 4 Star movie rent the original The Purge.