Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Running Time: 103 minutes
If you haven't read it, I have reviewed The Purge last year and I thought it was alright. When I heard that a sequel was in the works, I was surprised. There was no allusion to a follow up nor much of a need for one in my opinion, but I was still interested in what the sequel had in store.
Once a year, the United States holds an annual purge in the nation. The purge is a 12-hour event where citizens have an opportunity to commit any crime without consequences, including murder. During this time, authorities and emergency services are suspended. Of course, not everyone gets involved in the purge activities. Eva is a single mother and waitress with some financial struggles that tries her best to support her daughter Cali and her sick father. Leo is a grieving police sergeant that is anticipating the annual purge to get revenge for his decease son who was involved in a car accident. Shane and Liz are a couple travelling to Shane's sister's home a few hours before the purge commencement to announce that they will be separated. These five individuals come across each other due to unexpected events once the purge begins and join together as the city of Los Angeles becomes a danger zone for the group.
For the longest time I didn't know what this movie was about until I read it on IMDb as the trailer really doesn't help. Simply judging from the trailer, all I could see was the consistency of the purge guidelines and chaos on the streets. I knew this would be more of an open world compared to the first, but that's about it. Then reading it I gathered we would be following more than one set of people this time around. There was a little concern that the movie would have a hard time balancing its characters and cluttering it with more violence that would appear more unnecessary than intentional. Nonetheless, I was curious what they were going to do.
The movie starts off very nicely by establishing the time frame moments before the annual purge and introduces us to our main characters without straightforward telling you. In the summary for this movie in the review is exactly what you get, and a little more, from just the beginning of the movie. These facts are shown in a simple way that keeps you engaged and established a basic emotion and understanding of our main characters. Too many horror movies and thrillers fail to establish main characters in such a way, so a very big plus. Once you achieve that basic understanding, it piques the curiosity of how these characters will meet and interact with each other. When that happens, prepare for a very exciting, tense ride.
Since this movie is more of an open world than the first, it adds more danger and the movie does a good job keeping tension consistent from both movies. Even though I did enjoy The Purge, the sequel surprisingly improves and adds new exciting moments. There are goals in place throughout the movie and there's constant danger lurking around every corner...almost quite literally. From an organized set of 18-wheelers to a mysterious gang hiding behind creepy masks to people you would think you could trust not to hurt you. You never know who is waiting to release their pent up anger on you. Something that I found interesting that was added to the sequel was the resistance group that pointed out everything I thought in the first movie with my friend. Also, I was very happy there was no rape involved. I was afraid it might happen in a certain scene, but thankfully it didn't. Despite the violence, there isn't a lot of gore, so it stays true to its thriller roots.
I will admit that this movie does have its flaws, but it doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment. At times, I did get a little annoyed with characters and felt they were dead weight. Since it was easy to slip myself into this situation, I found myself yelling at characters in my head, "Shut up! Please shut up!" and "You're on your own, you're slowing down progress". Also this movie is littered with cliches and predictable moments which almost adds to the enjoyment. You could easily make fun of it and at the same time find it an entertaining joyride of chaos and violence. I think this can be best explained by Brad and Jake's review. [Fyi, there are spoilers in said review]
Overall, this was a very enjoyable movie. There was never a dull moment and its flaws don't bring down its improvements and new additions. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a third movie either, although once again I am quite content with what we have now. Check it out if you want an entertaining, slightly intense thriller.
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