(WARNING - I must warn everyone first by telling you that there may be several spoilers for anyone who has not seen the film as I am reviewing the entire film)
I went to see this sequel to The Purge (2013) last night not expecting anything that great. The first Purge in 2013 was heavily criticised however, not by me. I did enjoy the first film but there were some slight negative aspects to it, and it was too short. I felt that The Purge: Anarchy was a much better production being longer, having a better story in my opinion, and you could expect anything coming! I mean even the scares, some of them came from completely nowhere, from normal talking scenes before the Purge actually commenced. This was a feature I found worked very well, since in the first Purge, every scare was expected because it was so silent.
Not with the sequel though. Also, I believe it was impossible to predict the ending as so much was happening and central characters were killed way before the end of the film. The entire movie has no relevance at all with the first one - the story was completely different, as were the characters, apart from the 'filthy swine' from the previous film who appears later in the film. So if you are someone who tends to see previous films before seeing later ones, then you are okay with this. No relevance whatsoever, obviously except from the obvious fact that a Purge is commencing for 12 hours.
The plot is very straightforward but better than the first film in my opinion. It lasts 103 minutes and is directed by James DeMonaco. A couple are driving home to their house in attempt to get home before the annual purge commences. Several times, they notice they are being followed by a bunch of thugs who are seemingly looking forward to the commencement of the Purge as they are all carrying weapons and wearing creepy white masks as in the previous film. On their way to get home, their car breaks down in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. However it is not long until the crooks in white masks turn up on the other side of the bridge they have broken down on, where we discover that it was them who cut an essential wire in two. Knowing that the gang are 'purgers', the couple desperately run for their lives further into the suburbs as the annual Purge commences. Meanwhile, a police sergeant heads into the suburbs in attempt to find the man who killed his son, and to avenge him. At the same time, a mother and daughter run for their lives from their home which was destroyed by assailants. The five people meet up in the centre of downtown LA, and fight together until the end of the night.
I thought this film was a lot more exciting and gripping than the first one since it was all based out on the streets. There was a lot more action, and a lot more bloody scenes than the first. This was something I wasn't so keen on in the first. Since it was all just about a group of (funnily enough) white-masked crooks attempting to break into a rich family's house, it was just like watching each member of the gang get killed one by one. However in The Purge: Anarchy, it was like a war in the streets. Fighting everywhere. Guys on motorbikes; guys with turrets in the back of lorries; guys sniping from the rooftops of insanely high buildings, and even youngsters roaming about on skateboards, hiding their faces with creepy white masks.
I wouldn't really describe this as a horror, but more like a thriller/action film. There aren't enough scary moments, however there are a good amount of jump scares. From the commencement of the Purge, you establish connections with the characters who are desperate to hide and survive for the night, and so it is very tense. The acting is very good in my opinion, however I remember one moment where I thought it was a bit over the top. However, we have to remember that the helpless people out on the streets are fleeing for their lives. Another interesting aspect is the growing relationship of Sergeant (Frank Grillo), Eva (Carmen Ejogo), and her daughter Cali (Zoë Soul). From the beginning of the film, it basically gives you a quick overview of the lives of the five people who come together and fight for survival. I thought it was a smart idea how the relationship developed between them, and there is a theme of heroism which you will see upon the Sergeant as he saves them as they are being taken away.
Anyway, it is a very good film in my opinion, and was a big improvement of the first film. Again, I would class this film as a thriller/action film more than a horror - but there are some 'jumpy' moments, and everything is completely unexpected! Definitely worth a watch guys!