'The Purge: Anarchy:' A street-fighting sequel

The hunters become the hunted in "The Purge: Anarchy," a sequel to last summer's dystopian horror movie in which all sorts of violence and crimes are legal for one night a year.
The hunters become the hunted in "The Purge: Anarchy," a sequel to last summer's dystopian horror movie in which all sorts of violence and crimes are legal for one night a year.
Posted: July 18, 2014

IF YOU FOUND Thomas Piketty's inequality best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century a bit too wonky, consider seeing "The Purge: Anarchy."

In this quickie sequel to the offbeat 2013 horror hit, a 1 percenter resembling Ann Romney presides over a gathering of rich people who watch fellow swells hunting unarmed members of the middle and lower classes.

The rich people carry fancy fowling pieces and wear Wellington boots as they try to flush a covey of middle-class people, sort of like Dick Cheney going after pet quail on a game preserve that's more of a free-range zoo for the doomed.

Bad news, rich people: One of the hunted (Frank Grillo) is actually a highly qualified ass-kicker whom you interrupted on a personal and very bloody mission of his own. Watching him turn the tables is one of the guilty pleasures of this aggressively irresponsible B movie, which we might describe as everything that should have happened to Jordan Belfort but didn't.

"Anarchy" is a sequel to the summer sleeper "The Purge," built around the idea of a near-future society that controls crime by allowing its citizens one day per year to blow off steam by killing, raping, beating.

In "Anarchy," the class issues hinted at in the Serling-esque original are brought to a lurid surface: Wealthy elites are using the "purge" to cull the population of putative moochers.

Problem is, as an economic strategy, decimating the poor and middle class is kind of stupid because it reduces demand and actually invites economic contraction.

Here the movie is inadvertently on to something, because decimating the lower and middle classes is the same mistake we made when we bailed out financial elites and banks but left homeowners and job-seekers hanging, then sat around wondering why nobody was spending.

The anarchy in "Anarchy," though, isn't the work of anarchists with some economic grudge. The movie is ultimately all about the body count. The sequel takes the self-contained original (everything inside one house) and turns it into a wide open urban street battle, with obvious nods to Walter Hill and John Carpenter.

"Anarchy" is a 104-minute spasm of nocturnal carnage, operating at an obvious remove from reality, since its nightmare world is one in which it does not pay to be wealthy.


Blog: philly.com/KeepItReel

Online: ph.ly/Movies

 

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