The annual Purge is a solid idea that has been brought forth in two films now. Neither lived up to the promise of the concept, but they do try. This is not a science fiction film but a social experiment and a dystopia intended to mirror our class conflict.
The Purge opens up murder for one night each year, Purge night, hell night. Crime is legitimized in a ritualistic free for all, which some treat in a quasi-religious fashion, blending God, guns and America into a sadistic cult of violence. This is encouraged by the fascist regime that has taken charge.
As I said the idea is great. The execution, however, has suffered from several issues. The latest film in particular started off like bad TV melodrama, the dialogue so on-the-nose. The characters nano-thin, and the cliches piled up waist deep. The Purge phenomenon is handled so clunkily, don’t expect any subtlety there. Every tiny detail will be explained with tedious exposition at least twice.
The direction also flubbed some key scenes. People stand around gawking a lot when they should be running for their lives. Camera angles don’t reveal the spatial relationship between the hunter and hunted, causing confusion.
There are some good ideas in Purge Anarchy, but they don’t gel until the end of the film. Far too much of the first hour is simply action movie formula or even worse, bad dialogue.
But then again how many movies are showing us the depravity of a system that treats the poor as disposable? It’s a mixed bag. The world hopes that they massage the material into better shape before rolling the cameras on Purge 3.