The Purge: Anarchy: Movie review

After 90 minutes at the drive in, I made it through Lucy. After a quick  run to the restroom, I was back in my car and ready for the second feature of the night, The Purge: Anarchy.

Being that The Purge: Anarchy is a sequel, I didn’t set my hopes too high, but I was still plenty excited about it since I enjoyed the first one, and was curious to see how they were to going to take the premise of the 2013 film and build on it.

From the commotion on the grapevine – or lack thereof – The Purge (2013) didn’t do so well financially or with the critics. I didn’t hear any smack talking, but I also didn’t hear of anyone talking it up or rushing out to see it. I enjoyed the first film nonetheless, and took it for the movie it was.

Purgers and Hunters, from "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Purgers and Hunters, from “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

For those who haven’t see either, The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy take place in the not so distant future, in the years 2022 and 2023, respectively. The U.S. is governed by “The New Founding Fathers” and every year starting on March 21, all crime is completely legal* (including theft, rape, and murder) for 12 hours (7PM March 21st – 7AM March 22nd). There are a few exceptions however, such as not being allowed to use anything over a “Class 4” weapon, which isn’t defined. The big exception is that it is still illegal to target certain government officials. Bullshit, right? This period of lawlessness is called the purge.

In this world, crime, unemployment, and other societal ills have dropped to astonishingly low levels, by U.S. standards. In The Purge (2013), it’s generally accepted that the purge is creditable for these changes. The argument in the first installation is: Do the ends justify the means? Is it worth it? Is letting people take out their aggression on others without reprimand acceptable?

Purging sacrifice
Purging sacrifice, “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

In The Purge: Anarchy, the moral quagmire is that the purge isn’t just the government’s way of letting people blow off steam, but that it is in fact designed to reduce the population of people society deems undesirable. Those who are weak and defenseless, the poor, the sick, the elderly, and anyone else unable to defend themselves during the 12 hour onslaught make easy pickings for the hordes of “purgers”. The rich, with their fortress style mansions (explained in the 2013 film), and private security, are practically untouchable. Naturally, government officials (class 10 or higher) have exempted themselves from the annual purge.

The Anarchy touches up on issues of class warfare, racism, greed, genocide, and a plethora of other issues and cleverly dresses them up as an action/suspense movie.

Audiences probably noticed there was no Ethan Hawk in this movie. It was a sequel, but the film centers around an entirely new lineup of cast and characters. It takes places a year after the first events. Whereas the first movie took place in white bread Suburbia, Anarchy takes place in a completely difference setting: Urban America.

I knew nothing of the cast before I watched the film. Once the movie picked up the pace, I immediately recognized Frank Grillo (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Prison Break). Grillo does an amazing job playing a grieving father whose son was killed, who is looking to enact his revenge on the night of the purge. He carries most of the major action scenes and shoot outs, and keeps the story grounded.

Frank Grillo in "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Frank Grillo in “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

There is a couple on the edge of divorce that gets stranded in the middle of the city shortly before the beginning of the purge. Call me paranoid, but if I lived in this world, I probably wouldn’t leave my house on March 21, and if I did it’s because I was hundreds of miles in the middle of nowhere in a bunker, and armed to the teeth – or in Canada.

We also have a mother and daughter. The mother is harmless, and hardworking to support her family. Her daughter, despite having good intentions and probably being the most morally incorruptible of the cast, had me shouting “Shut the fuck up!” every couple minutes throughout the entire movie. Luckily you can scream out loud when you’re in your own car.

All said and done, it was definitely an entertaining, nail biting, thought provoking, and worthwhile film. Anarchy was to The Purge, as Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was to the prior Paranormal films in the franchise. Each of the latest incarnations taking on more of an urban, gritty tone.

Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. Not only was it as good as the first movie, but it was better and very different. Will The Purge franchise turn into the next Saw or Paranormal Activity, where audiences can expect a new sequel every year? Will the studio use the backdrop of the annual purge to address other societal concern and controversial issues? For enjoyability, I give this movie a solid A.

Did it deliver what it advertised? The trailers were a little misleading, and omitted a lot of the finer points of the movie. Did it deliver as advertised? Yes, it did, and much more. Again, Anarchy gets an A.

Would I see it again? I might buy the DVD, but not the Bluray. Given the chance I would definitely watch this movie again, and would gladly welcome a third installment.

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Lucy: Movie Review

Disclaimer: Being as this is my first movie review here, I’ll give a quick disclaimer. I’ve read some pretty nasty movie reviews from professional critics. They can really tear into a movie, even pretty decent movies. They can give a movie a piss poor rating simply because they disagree with it, not because it was a bad movie. So here’s what’s important for me:  Was the movie enjoyable? Did the movie deliver what it advertised? Would I see it again in theaters and/or would I buy the DVD?

I caught this movie Saturday night, on July 26, 2014 at the Santee Drive in Theater. With the windshield nice and clean, and some sour licorice, I was ready to rock n’ roll for the first movie of our double feature (with the second title being: “The Purge: Anarchy”)

Universal Studio’s “Lucy” 2014

With Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman as front runners, you’ve got some wind in your sails. We’re about to see two A list actors who’ve dominated the silver screen in their respective Marvel and DC movies in the past several years.

As you could have taken away from the trailer, “Lucy” is about a girl Lucy, played by Scarlet Johansson, who through a series of unfortunate events has a bag of mysterious substance sewn into her belly by criminals bent on smuggling them to be used as the next hardcore party drug. Misfortune befalls her again, and the substance leaks into her body, transforming her into something special. The movie circles around the idea of what would happen if humans could utilize more or all of our brain’s capacity, and what that entails.

Right from the get go the movie smells a lot like “Limitless”, in that a hapless person finds themselves mixed up with seedy people, and a man-made substance intended to be used as an illicit street drug ends up turning the protagonist into a quantum computerized UFC fighter.

Limitless seems much more plausible, in that by using more of our brain, or using our brain more efficiently, we can retain and recall more knowledge, and better utilize it. We could also better hone and take advantage of our senses, detecting things we would have otherwise ignored, all the while still functionally and personally remaining human.

Lucy takes this a step further, proposing that if we could use more of our brain, in addition to all of the above, we would develop all new senses, and a plethora of new abilities, including but not limited to telepathy, telekinesis, time travel, and much, much more.

Scene of Lucy altering digital data
Universal Studio’s “Lucy” 2014

There wasn’t really an antagonist. Early in the movie the title character proved that she is more than capable of taking care of herself, even when severely outnumbered against hardened bad guys. Because of this, it’s like watching a kid who is stepping on ants, and expecting you to root against the helpless ants. When the main character is virtually unstoppable, it takes some of the fun out of it. This is even explicitly mentioned in the movie, when a secondary character aiding Lucy states that he is useless to her, and that she should continue without him.

It has enough cool Jason Bourne-esque fight scenes, shoots outs, car chases, and multi-lingual prowess to keep you entertained, even if the story itself doesn’t do the job. Johansson plays her script well, though her character is robotic and hard to cozy up next to. Thankfully Morgan Freeman’s character was present, and lent some much needed humanity and morality to the movie.

Essentially the movie boils down to do the idea that if you ingest enough blue Jell-O you will not only be able to utilize 100% of your brain, but also become omnipotent and devoid of emotion.

Was it enjoyable? Not really. As stated, the only enjoyable parts were the action sequences, which would be served better by a dedicated action movie. For enjoyment factor, I give this movie a B-.

Did it deliver what it advertised? Absolutely. A sci-fi movie about people using 100% of their brains is what they put down, and what the viewer picks up. In this regards, Lucy gets an A.

Would I buy the DVD? No. Straight up no. I probably wouldn’t bother watching it on Netflix either.

Can you f*#&ing believe that guy?

The name says it all, but before I launch into some diatribe, what’s the deal?

I’ve wanted to start a website or a blog or something to vent for years and just never really got around to it. Every once in a while I’ll be perusing some web article or shared post on facebook and want to lash out at the screen. If I had purchased the warranty that the Geek Squad guy recommended, I might have thrown my computer out a window by now. But cooler heads prevailed.

I caught myself getting into arguments with friends on facebook, or better yet, strangers on news websites. What a waste of time, right?

We’ll the kicker I suppose is that some people think I’m an asshole for having the audacity to speak my mind. Apparently, I’m offensive. Newsflash to me. Not really.

But not offensive like “Your mother’s a whore” offensive. I don’t say stuff like that. More like “I have an idea that you disagree with, therefore you think I’m an asshole.” That kind of an asshole. So I mean, I’m not really an asshole in the traditional sense of the word, and definitely not in the literal sense, but more in the contemporary, people-need-to-stop-getting-so-uppity sense.

That’s where the name comes from. I feel like I have some good ideas, but I’m not always so politically correct about how I express or share them. I also cuss like a sailor and am not overly concerned about people being upset by my comments or sense of humor. These days, I almost feel compelled to use people’s reaction to my ideas as a measuring stick of their validity.

If after reading my blogs, people are saying “Can you fucking believe that guy?”, I’d consider that a win.

So don’t be dismayed or discouraged from reading my other blog posts. I’m actually a really nice guy, and I’ll be the first to line up if you ever need help moving.

Sane rantings from an insane dude.