Previously in Mallory Reviews Movies: Things That Actually Happened In The Movie Vampire Academy, A Movie That Is About An Academy For Vampires and Class Is 1000% Percent Better Than The Graduate And You Should Watch It Instead.
Of course The Purge II: Anarchy was going to be better than The Purge. “Fairly straightforward home invasion movie with psychopaths” doesn’t hold a purging CANDLE to “Escape From L.A. with machetes and roving machine gun trucks.” It took them a single calendar year to write, shoot, edit and release The Purge II: Anarchy, which is incredible, and I can only hope is the beginning of an annual summer tradition. I want to see The Purge: Revolution, followed by The Purge: The Hallowing, followed by The Purge: Purgatory: Hell On Earth. It is a perfect concept: one night a year, everyone in the world becomes a horrible murderer.
“But how is the Purge legally enforceable–”
“Wouldn’t the vast, vast majority of people just stay inside and not commit any crimes at all–”
“Why aren’t more people stealing cars and credit cards and whatnot, why is everyone bludgeoning strangers to death with tire chains–”
No. Stop it. Every year for one night everyone in the world becomes a horrible murderer. You can’t see The Purge with an attitude like that, man. And I don’t want you to tell me how The Purge is a perfect horror movie for our anxious, post-9/11 society, or gun culture, or Palestine, or that Santa Barbara guy, or anything else. The Purge II: Anarchy is a perfect movie for people who want to see a bunch of people try to murder each other for no good reason. Get busy purgin’ or get busy dying.
Some Stray Purging Thoughts
9. No, I haven’t seen Snowpiercer yet. I’m going to. It sounds really good. Or Boyhood. Look, I want people to think I’m smart just as much as the next blogger plagued with imposter syndrome, but I’m a simple woman, and what I really want most of the time to see a lot of people running around LA wearing Day of the Dead masks and brandishing giant, giant knives on skateboards.
8. Honestly, not enough people died in this movie. I don’t even mean the main characters, although I can think of two I would have really, really liked to have seen bite it at some point. I mean there weren’t enough ESTABLISHING THE TONE murders, where the main characters see someone brave or strong or armed to the teeth get really savagely taken out so they realize this year is even more serious than years past.
I mean, you see a guy like this roaming around in the back of a semi, you expect to see him murder a lot of people, right? Well, he only murdered some. It sucked.
7. Speaking of which — most of the Purgers are driving armored vehicles with mounted assault rifles (and in one very memorable instance, a dune buggy with a flamethrower attached to it), or at the VERY LEAST carrying machine guns and wearing bulletproof vests, except for ONE GUY whose only protection is a shoddily put-together doll’s mask, a skateboard, and a machete. THAT’S IT. He skateboards lazily throughout the entire movie, and no one shoots him even once, even though he is almost entirely defenseless against anything that’s not a dense hedgemaze. He’s just the slowly-rolling knife guy, and I love him. In my mind, his name is Timothy, and he’s getting his associate’s degree at Loyola Marymount.
6. The grandfather of one of the main characters slips away before the Purge starts, because he’s sold himself as a human target to a wealthy family in order to ensure his children’s well-being, so you know this movie has some pretty salient points to make about class warfare (the classes are at literal war with each other). Is there anything better than movie Rich People? They’re always wearing their school blazers and prep-school pins, even if they’re thirty years old, and the women are always dressed like Emily Gilmore. In my opinion, that is a great choice, but I really like to have things spelled out for me. Your mileage may etc.
This might be giving the Purgemakers a lot of credit they don’t deserve, but the marketing made it seem like most of the danger, Purge-wise, was going to be coming from roving bands of urban youths when it turns out that THE GOVERNMENT is behind most of the Purging (“You people just weren’t killing each other enough!”) and also rich people host Taken-style auctions on various lots of captured poor people, then hunt them for sport in a sculpture garden. Oh my God, and they keep fist-bumping each other, and the women are all in gowns and furs and the men are all in Downton Abbey-era hunting tweeds, because they’re hunting The Most Dangerous Game.
5. Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights and, apparently, his wife in real life, play the sort of bougie white people one hopes either never to encounter or never to become, depending on one’s own ethnic situation. He wears a puffy vest and is strategically useless; she has very fussy bangs and does nothing but snipe at him at the worst possible time.
4. I wish there had been just one scene of some guy alone in his super-armored basement, gleefully committing securities fraud with impunity for twelve hours, but I guess you can’t have everything.
3. Frank Grillo plays basically The Punisher/Snake Plissken, which is incredible, and if Matt Saracen &co. represent white folks at our worst, Frank represents us at our imaginary best: he looks amazing in a trench coat, somehow his pompadour gets better with each fresh coating of blood, and he doesn’t have any feelings except for Revenge and Being In Charge Of The Situation and Get Down, You’re Going To Get Us All Killed.
2. This movie made me a sexist, because I am highly suggestible and also because I am a sucker for a Loner Who Walks Alone Gets Suckered Into Helping People narrative. I don’t care how overused it is, the second I see someone onscreen with a grizzled jaw and pain behind their silent eyes, I’m ready to offer them my sword and sit at their feet in quiet awe. So every time one of the NOISY, NO-SELF-PRESERVATION-INSTINCT-HAVING women questioned Frank Grillo’s plan, or whispered loudly “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” as he tried to sneak them past a flotilla of eye-stabbers, I was ready for him to cut them loose and leave them to die. But he didn’t, which was pretty nice of him.
1. When Matt Saracen gets shot — this is a movie about a world where crime is legal for one night, people get shot in this movie and I refuse to apologize for talking about it — I said loudly to my companion, “Looks like it’s Friday Night Lights out for him,” and I have said it to myself several times thereafter, and I still think it is the funniest off-the-cuff remark I have ever made.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.