The sequel to last year’s ‘The Purge‘ from Blumhouse productions (with James DeMonaco writing and directing again) who don’t waste any time in getting the next installment in their franchises out. It retains the good basic story from the first one – that at some point in the very near future the U.S. Government sanction one day of violence and wanton destruction when people can ‘purge’ themselves of their baser inclinations and not face any recriminations (until the next Purge possibly), thereby theoretically creating a society largely free of crime for the rest of the year. Here, the concept is advanced a little and more politics come into it, which was a good idea and works quite well, but its critical sin is that four of the five main characters are terribly written and just as terribly acted.
Frank Grillo (‘The Winter Soldier‘, ‘End of Watch‘) plays one man on a mysterious mission – driving around on purge night in a bullet proofed car with a small arsenal with him for company, but focused on his goal rather than engaging in the bedlam around him. The character is the strongest element of the movie. Unfortunately, he stops to help out some strangers and ends up with a small entourage of completely hopeless gibberlings that shackle him for most of the film. I mean, you really feel sorry for this guy, as the others waltz around in plain sight, scream and shriek at every possible opportunity, talk when they shouldn’t, tell him killing is wrong but ask him to kill everyone around them so they can survive, just generally break his balls and cover constantly. It picks up dramatically for the last twenty or thirty minutes, and if the rest had been like this then it would have been possibly better than the original, but as it is the very people we’re supposed to empathise with effectively destroy the entire core of the film.