purge anarchyWith a budget only slightly higher than the first picture (and even that less than $10M) what’s still missing is a sense of national anarchy — that this orgiastic violence is taking place throughout the nation, in ways perhaps specific to each region. But that’s to unfairly criticize the movie for what it might have been. As it is, we do get a much more political take on the rationale behind the Purge — and a key subplot that explores the ethical questions raised by the New Founding Fathers’ policy. That subplot leads to the movie going terribly soft at the end (admittedly, amidst an ocean of death and blood). But as we’re informed in the final moment, it’s 364 days until the next Purge and thus presumably the next installment. (Full theatre, applause at the end, can there be any doubt this is now a franchise?) Curiously un-suspenseful save for a scene at a house party where the main victims have taken rescue, the problem may be in the casting. There are no standout performances — from either predators or prey — that might make us care who gets it or who survives. Sloppy editing meant to heighten the tension instead makes us wonder why cars driven at breakneck speed toward their far slower targets on foot never reach them — or if they do, despite having machine guns with endless ammo, never seem to land a shot. I laughed out loud at two especially silly lines of dialogue. And why are people whose lives are in danger from snipers who could be anywhere running down the middle of the street? I mean, those folks deserve to die, no? — Jeff Schultz


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