MOVIE REVIEW: 'Purge' sequel gets it all out of our systems

"The Purge: Anarchy" takes a right turn from the canny 2013 original, "The Purge," with a lackluster script, phoned-it-in performances and blunt commentary on race and class.

Starring Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Zoe Soul, Kiele Sanchez; directed by James DeMonaco; 100 minutes; R for strong disturbing violence and for language; D

 

The clever conceit behind James DeMonaco's 2013 sleeper hit "The Purge" was not that American society had resolved its crime/inequality/ population problems with an annual free-pass-for-murder "purge." It was that this hell night came home to roost on isolated, gated suburbanites, ostensibly liberal people above this annual bloodletting, immune to its impact, but benefiting and even profiting from the mayhem - until it invades their community and their homes.

"The Purge: Anarchy" abandons that sly and disturbing message for a straightforward quest - people trapped outside when the annual "release the beast" commences, people who fall in with a bloody-minded man, bent on vengeance. Throw in generally lackluster performances and illogical plot twists and "Anarchy" is seriously crippled.

Characters act against their self-interest as well as their morals. They stop to bicker in deadly situations and clumsily act as if they've read the dull, tin-eared script and know they aren't in danger in this sequence, so they can chatter and traipse through this alley or down that subway tunnel without a care in the world.

Roger Moore, McClatchy Newspapers

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