The New Founders of America invite you to celebrate your annual right to Purge. The Purge: Anarchy, the sequel to summer 2013’s sleeper hit that opened to No. 1 at the box-office, sees the return of writer/director James DeMonaco to craft the next terrifying chapter of dutiful citizens preparing for their country’s yearly 12 hours of anarchy. Returning alongside DeMonaco to produce The Purge: Anarchy are Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity and Insidious series), alongside Sébastien K. Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13, Four Lovers) and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay (Pain & Gain, Transformers franchise), Brad Fuller (The Amityville Horror, A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Andrew Form (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th).
With the sequel to last year’s big box office hit ‘The Purge‘ with ‘The Purge: Anarchy‘. Writer/Director James DeMonaco concocted a brilliant and chaotic story where we are set in the very near future where the U.S. constitution is done away with and a few select people were put in charge and called The Founding Fathers. These Founding Fathers wrote a new constitution that added in a new law where once a year for a twelve hour period, everyone was entitled to “Purge”, where all forms of crime were legal, including rape and murder.
It was a way for people to cleanse themselves for short period of time of anger and frustration. The Founding Fathers say that since the ‘Purge’ has been in affect, there is virtually no crime for the remainder of the year and unemployment is at an all-time low. But there is something more sinister at work here as DeMonaco laid the undertone of the class system where the rich will always triumph over the poor. In the first film, we are trapped in the confines of a big house of a wealthy family who just want to stay inside and keep safe from the people who are “purging”, but it soon becomes a home invasion flick when a band of young, wealthy people show up on the doorstep and try to kill everyone.
And there was always the annoying undertone of the class system, which never really got off the ground. But in this sequel, we are out on the big bad streets during ‘The Purge’, which is a big improvement on the last film. We get to see all the types of people, gangs, and posses that feel the need to kill and rape everything in their path to “cleanse” themselves. Not only do we get to witness the killings, but we get to be a part of the escape and a part of others who are not necessarily killing people, but kidnapping people for money and delivering them to their would-be killers. But once again, DeMonaco sets the tone with the whole rich vs. poor again.
This time, taking it further as to start an form of an anarchist group (hence the sequel title), that sends viral videos of their leader (Michael K. Williams), discussing how the rich people of America set this ‘Purge’ law in motion to get rid of the poor people of society. And as to hit us over the head several times during the film, we see a group of good people who are forced out onto the mean city streets as the Purge begins. They must stay together and defend themselves against all attackers. But during their real nightmare, they come to realize that the Anarchist leader is speaking the truth and the the rich and powerful have much uglier and sinister plans for the poor people of America.
This class system undertone has a little more meat to it, but it’s so over-the-top, that it becomes unbelievable and very laughable. Once again, if DeMonaco just stuck with the actual ‘Purge’ event, the film would be much better, because the scenes where our group is being terrorized and attacked is genuinely frightening. Is ‘The Purge 2: Anarchy‘ better than the first film? Yes, it is, but take it all with a grain of salt.
'The Purge: Anarchy' comes with an impressive 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Universal has done an excellent job with this video presentation. Most of you know that the annual "Purge" takes place overnight, so the bulk of the film is shot at night, which could have a negative impact on other films and their transfers. But here, even with most of the movie taking place in low lighting, the detail and colors look amazing with almost no issues to speak of. The detail is vivid and very sharp, even during the low lit sequences.
Facial features stand out nicely, showing all wrinkles, makeup blemishes, wounds, scars, and individual hairs very well. Props and background items look sharp here too, giving the picture some depth. Colors are well-balanced and saturated nicely. The colors are slightly muted to give that grim feel to the film and during the few day time sequences, the contrast was heightened to give a gritty and raw look before the "Purge" began. The black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural. There was some minor video noise in a couple of places, but it's nothing to write home about. This video presentation is excellent leaving it with top marks.
This release comes with an excellent lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. Your surround sound system will get an extensive workout here. This track is robust, lively, loud, and will fully immerse you into this horrific situation called 'The Purge'. Universal has done a knockout job with this audio. The first couple of scenes of the film are quite light in terms of audio, as people are preparing for the annual Purge. There are some great light ambient city noises throughout here. But as soon as the Purge starts and the blood starts to flow, the audio kicks into high gear and packs a powerful punch throughout the entire film. The rear speakers are constantly used to their fullest ability, putting you in the middle of all the carnage with explosions, gun shots, loud bangs, engine's revving, and bone crunches that will make you squirm.
Screams and gunshots can be heard in the background as well, as if they are happening in the far distance, meaning there is a good sense of audio depth here, which is perfectly balanced. Sound effects are loud, realistic, and full of life. The bass kicks in from time to time as well, and will rattle the walls. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, and free of any pops, cracks, and hissing. There are a few instances where the audio switches to a security camera or a hand held home video camera, making the audio not sound as full, but that all part of the immersive experience, and never takes you out of the moment. The score always adds to the suspense of the film while never drowning out any sound effects or dialogue. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is very wide here, leaving this audio presentation with high marks.
Behind the Anarchy (HD, 9 Mins.) - A decent, yet short behind the scenes look at the making of the film. The filmmakers and actors discuss the themes of the film, the difference between the first movie and this one, and a lot of the violence that happens on screen. There is some on-set footage between the interviews as well. This a little better than your average promo reel.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 8 Mins.) - Five deleted scenes in total, where most of them take place during the first part of the film - before start of the carnage. More character development happens here, and each scene is worth watching if you're a fan of the movie.
Trailers (HD, 14 Mins.) - Six trailers for different titles from Universal.
'The Purge: Anarchy' gives the audience a bit more background and depth to this annual blood fest. Instead of staying in one house, like the first film, we head out into the streets of the big city and see multiple sets of carnage and violence. Again, like the first film, there is a big political message and seems a bit preachy. It's all about the 'little guy' standing up to big business and big government. There is a bigger story arc going on with this issue, which will play out more in future sequels, but what really want is to see the scary acts of violence non-stop, which are the best parts of this film franchise so far. The video and audio presentations are top notch here, and the couple of bonus features are decent, yet short. If you're a fan of the first film, you'll enjoy this one a bit more. Recommended.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.