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Film / The Purge: Anarchy

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"Get ready to bleed, rich bitches! This is our time now!"
"We found your car, Sergeant. Your plates told us who you were. It was easy to see where you were headed tonight. Hell, I would've done the same thing. The unwritten Purge rule: don't save lives. Tonight we take lives. We make things manageable. Unfortunately the citizens aren't killing enough. So we supplement it all to keep things balanced. It's important work the NFFA does, and we can't have any interference. We can't have heroes... oh, no sir... no heroes. I hope you feel cleansed. Blessed be America, a nation reborn."
Big Daddy

The Purge: Anarchy is a 2014 American social science fiction action horror film directed and written by James DeMonaco. It is the sequel to the 2013 film The Purge, and the second entry in The Purge Universe. The film stars Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoë Soul, and Michael K. Williams, while Edwin Hodge reprises his role of "The Stranger" from the first movie. It was released worldwide on July 18, 2014.

The film is set on the night of March 21, 2023, and follows Leo, a sergeant who lost his son, as he plots a vigilante mission of revenge during the mayhem. However, his plans of vengeance are sidetracked as he becomes the unexpected protector of four innocent strangers who desperately need his help if they are to survive the night.

In its expansion of setting (taking place in the Greater Los Angeles area) and depiction of the logic and implications of the Purge, the film seems to address many questions that the original film's premise generated. Are there really that many monsters around to make the Purge so successful? If everybody's preparing for Purge Night, how come so many people die? Why would your average monster wait a whole year to satisfy sadistic urges to murder and kill? How does it even work?

This film answers a few of those questions, most notably showing that the Purge doesn't work — at least not the way people think it does...

Followed by The Purge: Election Year.

The Purge: Anarchy contains examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Besides Leo, all of the main characters are out of their depth.
  • Actionized Sequel: This sequel puts more emphasis on being an action thriller than the first film which leaned toward suspense. A good example would be the sequel's protagonist Leo being a gun-toting, Crazy-Prepared badass, reluctant Purger while the first film's protagonists, James and Mary Sandin, were a husband and wife who had little combat experience and were unprepared for what's coming to them as they initially attempted to stay out of the Purge rather then getting involved in it.
  • Anarcho-Tyranny: A sinister group called the "New Founding Fathers" have taken over the United States and established an annual nationwide event where crime - including violent crimes like murder - are legal for a 12-hour period, which began as a way to persecute the homeless and other vulnerable people and to maintain their grip on power. The Founding Fathers and their allies themselves are of course protected by armies of security personnel.
  • Anti-Climax: The hyped-up motorcycle gang turns out to just be a pack of scavengers selling people to wealthy Purgers. They all pull a massive Karma Houdini and are never seen again after they get paid.
  • Anti-Hero: Leo. While he's ultimately a good man, he's voluntarily participating in the Purge, unlike his companions.
  • Arms Dealer: Shortly before the Purge, an arms dealer tries to sell guns and other weaponry to people walking by him, including Eva.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The strung-up banker who swindled people out of their pensions is a stand-out example.
    • Diego. He intended to rape Eva and Cali before he's awesomely gunned down by Big Daddy's group.
  • Attempted Rape: Eva and Cali nearly get this. Twice.
  • Bash Brothers: Carmelo and "The Stranger" have this shades in their Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Berserk Button: Getting in his way or trying to talk him down from seeking vengeance for his son's death seems to be one of the few things to make Leo lose his temper.
  • The Berserker: As The Purge officially commences, we are shown how various citizens are going to spend the night. Many travel in packs armed to the teeth, roaming the streets ready to kill anyone they come across, while a lone sniper has considerable safety despite the fact he's alone due to him being on the roof of a tall building. Then there's a man wearing nothing but pants, boots and a kind of gimp mask, with PIG written on his chest. He's prowling the streets entirely by himself and armed with nothing but an axe.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Old Auction Lady, who seems to be at the top of the hierarchy of gangs paid to deliver people to underground auction club for rich bidders, and Big Daddy, the leader of a death squad/mercenary group sanctioned by the NFFA.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Diego, if his Evil Gloating to Eva and Cali didn't tell you anything, then what else?
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The government uses the city's traffic cameras to track and target people.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Contrary to what Eva's father said early on, the Resistance is the real deal, and their leader personally takes part in the raid on the wealthy Purgers, saving most of the protagonists from them in the process.
  • Big Good: Carmelo who heads the La Résistance.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tanya's sister.
  • Break the Cutie: The main characters not named Leo (who already broke down a year ago) qualify, but Liz especially. She starts the night arguing about her separation with Shane, before having to endure the horror that is the Purge. She almost has to lose Shane once, and she eventually does. All we see of her at the end is a sobbing wreck who mutters quite surely that she's participating in the Purge.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Eva's friend Tanya, who ends up sheltering the group from the Purge.
  • Choke Holds: Leo uses one to stop a Purger from finding his group. In a more realistic example, the Purger struggles hard and it takes Leo a while to KO him.
  • Continuity Nod: The stranger who survived the Sandins' ordeal turns up as a resistance member.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Leo to the Sandins'; see Actionized Sequel, above.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Leo deals these out like candy throughout the movie. There are other examples, however:
    • After Shane is killed, this appears to be the case for the main group, as the rich Purgers have called in every bodyguard in their private army. However, this is subverted by...
    • Carmelo Johns and his crew of revolutionaries. They outnumber the already considerable opposing force, and roll in with flashbang grenades and automatic weapons. They proceed to avert Hollywood Tactics hard by forming an orderly line with overlapping fields of fire, and wipe the floor with the unprepared group of guards.
  • Death by Disfigurement: Shane is the only one of the four survivors to get wounded (being shot in the shoulder), and he's also the only one to die by the end of the film. Leo averts this though, as he's too much of a badass to let gunshot wounds hinder him.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • In addition to the usual gaggle of psychopaths running around the streets on Purge night, there are wealthy people who don't risk their lives going out to Purge. Instead people either sell themselves to be purged by a specific family for an exorbitant sum, as Eva's father does, or the wealthy attend big parties where potential victims are rounded up for them by other Purgers. The wealthy then bid on who will kill these victims, all within the safety of their fortified mansions. This backfires dramatically when one of these groups kidnap Leo and his friends, who not only put up one hell of a fight against the Purgers, but ultimately get rescued when the Resistance storms the mansion.
    • Roddy attempts to hold Liz at gunpoint to call his Ax-Crazy wife Lorraine's bluff to save his own skin, despite the fact that she's obviously not holding back.
  • Disappeared Dad: Cali lives with her mother and grandfather, but her father is never seen or spoken of in the film.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Old Auction Lady and Big Daddy definitely count.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Eva's father is perfectly calm as the wealthy family he sold himself to kills him.
  • Funny Background Event: Dark comedy example. While Leo is driving, a burning bus is very randomly seen passing through in the background.
  • Genre Shift: While the first movie was a home invasion thriller, Anarchy (and the subsequent film, Election Year) is very much an action film.
  • Gatling Good: Each of the NFFA death squad trucks is outfitted with a mounted machine gun in the back.
  • Government Conspiracy: The New Founding Fathers don't think enough people are dying in The Purge, so they send murder squads into the projects to help out a bit.
  • Harmful to Minors: Though Cali is already an adult, Eva's still wary that the night's events have forced her daughter to see some rather nasty things such as murders and corpses. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, when the party sees a broker hanging from the bank, has Eva covering Cali's eyes so she does not have to see it.
  • He Knows Too Much: Leo is about to be killed by Big Daddy, not just because No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, but to cover up the Government Conspiracy.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Just like the first movie, the Emergency Broadcast announcing the Purge's commencement is cited as an In-Universe Hell Is That Noise. What really takes it home, however, is the ungodly siren at the end announcing the suspension of law and order for the night. Have a listen, why don't ya, and good luck getting to sleep tonight.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Not so much. It turns out not enough citizens are actually willing to go out and kill their fellow human beings, so the government has to send out their own kill squads to rack up a higher body count. Not only this, but there is an entire organization devoted to fighting the NFFA and stopping the Purge.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: While the Purge does generally fit this trope, the wealthy bidders — who release captured victims into an arena and proceed to hunt them for sport — are a much closer fit.
  • I Lied: A heroic example: Eva promises that there will be a car for Leo to drive when they arrive at Tanya's house. She lied, but that's because she wants him to protect her and her daughter until the night is over, and also partly to discourage him from pursuing his revenge. Leo, however, is understandably hurt and storms away, at least until Lorraine opens fire on everyone.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Liz and Shane, who try to drive to Shane's sister's house when it's only hours until the Purge begins, and even stop to go grocery shopping, getting their car secretly sabotaged by Purgers in the process. If you watch it closely, you will find that when their car break down, it's on a completely vacant road, meaning that most people had common sense to stay off the roads and inside their houses much earlier than these two.
    • Eva doesn't leave work until it's two hours from the Purge (this one might be justified in that she needs the money, and is looking forward to a raise). However, when she gets home, she decides to take a shower FIRST, THEN barricade the house. The barricade didn't work anyway, but shouldn't she make sure the house is safe first, THEN take showers or whatever?
  • It's Personal: Big Daddy, the NFFA death squad leader wounded by Leo, wants Leo, Eva, and Cali for himself. The former is because he rescued Eva and Cali, the latter because they would have been his personal kills if not for Leo's interference.
  • Karma Houdini: The bikers who have been spending the night abducting and selling people to be Purged aren't seen getting any comeuppance for their despicable actions. The rich lady who organized the Purge party for other wealthy people also gets to live, but at least Leo gets to force her to beg for her life. It's averted in a deleted scene; she and her partner are killed by a group of purgers' attack/hunting dogs.
  • Kill the Poor: Implied in the last film, elevated from subtext to text here. The NFFA death squads specifically target low-income housing.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: From the moment Leo saves Eva and Cali from the NFFA death squad, he is on one of these for the remainder of the film.
  • Machete Mayhem: The favored weapon of the wealthy family who buy Eva's father as a martyr for their Purge, as well as the rich twins who participate in the hunt later in the movie.
  • Mama Bear: Eva is absolutely not pleased that her daughter above all has to endure some quite traumatic night. She generally does a great job while attempting to keep her innocent (including the bank employee scene, see Harmful to Minors above).
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The wealthy purgers, when Leo kills the first of the men stalking him and the other "prey."
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The death count heavily weighs on the men, although there are female casualties. Most of the villains and mooks the party encounters are male, though the Big Bad is surprisingly female. Shane is also the only main character to die by the end of the film. The only named female characters who die in the film are Tanya and the Hanover sisters.
  • Mexican Standoff: Cali, Eva, Warren, and two government goons have one at the finale, before the purge ends and the latter retreat.
  • Mood Whiplash: The scene where the group are recovering at Tanya's house is very relaxed and jovial, with Tanya and her family cracking jokes and drinking wine. And then Tanya's sister open fires on everyone.
  • Morality Pet: Cali tries to be this to Leo.
  • Moral Myopia: The rich Purgers have poor people rounded up so they can be hunted for sport in a lopsided contest, but completely lose their cool when Leo turns the tables on them.
    • "They've killed five people! They've killed five of us!"
  • Mugging the Monster: Leo is rounded up with the rest of his group to be purged by the wealthy hunters. They bit off a bit more than they could chew with him.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The audience never quite finds out what Leo's past is. Cali assumes that he's either a cop or a criminal based on his proficiency with weapons. Towards the end, the government death squad leader's comments highly imply that Leo is either a cop, or a former member of the military.
  • My Car Hates Me: Two of the characters wind up in The Purge hours after their car breaks down right before sunset. This is because it was sabotaged to make them easy to round up later.
  • Nice Guy: Shane
  • No Fair Cheating: In-universe example. People cannot use weapons higher than that of Level 4. When explosives exceeding Level 4 weapons are used during the fight at the rich estate, the Purge PA starts repeating the rule.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Zigzagged. Leo stops his car to save Eva and Cali from the deathsquad, then reluctantly save Shane and Liz as well. As a result, his car is shot, and he cannot be where he initially want to be. He also gets shot a few times and almost killed at the end. However, spending the entire night protecting complete strangers seems to have changed him. He ultimately forgives the man who killed his son and apparently finds peace at the end of the movie.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: The old lady never gets her own hands dirty and relies on her employees to do that for her.
  • No Name Given: Leo is only ever called "Sergeant", as shown in the credits. His name is only listed in The Other Wiki.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The scene that shows Eva's father after he sold himself to the wealthy family to be Purged has him sitting calmly as the family pray, then draw machetes. The scene cuts short before they kill him.
  • Obviously Evil: In contrast to most Purgers who either each a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing due to acting civil by day, Ax-Crazy by night or Faux Affably Evil, Diego makes no secret he's a deplorable and depraved creep in terms of physical appearance and personality even before the Purge.
  • Off on a Technicality: The drunk driver who killed Leo's son escaped justice on a prosecution technicality. This is why he's targeted by Leo during the Purge.
  • One-Man Army: Leo. The man single handedly provides most of the onscreen kills.
  • Only in It for the Money: It turns out the bikers are this. They're only hunting people because a group of rich people are buying victims from them.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Leo lost his son a year before in a car accident and had to watch as the accused was acquitted. His entire motivation to participate in the Purge is to hunt said accused to justice.
    • Also, Tanya's parents outlive their daughter...because their other daughter, Lorraine, murders her.
  • Papa Wolf: Leo Barnes. You kill his son, he can and will wreck your good night's sleep. Be thankful that Eva and Cali manage to slip some realization to him, Warren.
    • Also Papa Rico. Another day of Purge is going to come and he has to watch helplessly in a sickroom while his broke daughter and granddaughter anxiously prepare to defend themselves. What does he do? Sacrificing himself to the Purge, in exchange for a hefty sum of money for his family, of course.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Very, very cruelly inverted. Shane is gunned down literally the instant Liz finishes saying to him "I love you, I want you to know that".
  • Plucky Girl: Cali has some shades of this. She's brave enough to constantly bombard questions and/or life advice on the extremely experienced-hunter/killer/avenger Leo, even when others (especially her mother) are rather uncomfortable with being his company.
  • Population Control: It's made clear that the Purge is this by means of Kill the Poor.
  • Redemption Earns Life: At the end of the film Leo chooses to not kill the drunk driver who killed his son, and ultimately forgives him. The driver in question soon repays the favor by killing the paramilitary death squad leader who was about to kill Leo before the Purge finished, and then driving the wounded Leo to the hospital.
  • Red Herring: When the group makes it to Tanya's house, Tanya's behavior is just off. She's far too chipper, she's putting away glass after glass of wine, Leo catches her popping pills of some kind, and she even jokes about purging. Then her quiet sister starts shooting people.
  • Religion of Evil: The Purge seems to have taken on religious significance to its supporters, with the frequent references to "releasing the beast in our souls" and "God Bless America". There even seems to be a pre-Purge prayer:
    Blessed be our New Founding Fathers for letting us Purge and cleanse our souls. Blessed be America, a nation reborn.
  • Retcon: Possibly. In the first film the unemployment rate is stated to be at 1%, in the second film it's stated to be "less than 5%." While a year has passed, there's no indication the unemployment rate has jumped significantly. This may be a response to many people pointing out that a 1% unemployment rate would actually be catastrophic.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Leo's goal is to kill the drunk driver who killed his son.
    • At the end of the movie, Liz joins La Résistance after her husband Shane is killed, intent on getting revenge on those who organized The Purge.
  • Sequel Escalation: This film moves the story directly into the heart of The Purge rather than on the outskirts of it. It also extends the perspectives from just one family to several different groups (albeit coming together as the story goes on), as well as showing a wider array of antagonists, including the United States military and a gang of youths that capture civilians for an audience of wealthy people who then bid between each other for the chance to hunt the victims.
  • Sequel Hook: So much focus is put on the Resistance for what amounts to a cameo that it seems likely that this is their purpose.
  • Shout-Out: The rich people who are rounding people for their own private murders is very reminiscent of the movie Hostel, which has a similar premise.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Eva and Cali.
  • Sore Loser: The rich Purgers decide to cheat on the hunting challenge by calling in dozens of armed servants when Leo fights back.
  • The Stoic: Leo again.
  • Take That!: While making their way through the banking district, they come across the corpse of a stock broker who allegedly swindled people out of their pensions. Shane muses that maybe this guy did deserve to be Purged.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The stranger, who was saved by the Sandins in the preceding film, turns up as a resistance member against the Purge.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: As with the first film, it spoils the fact that some of richer people actually bid on captured people so they can kill them.
  • Villainous Rescue: Big Daddy's soldiers kill an Ax-Crazy Diego holding the Sanchez family hostage while they're searching for victims to purge as well.
  • Voice of the Resistance: Carmelo Johns, a leader of then Anti-Purge political/resistance movement, livestreams videos of himself denouncing the Purge online and on digital billboards both before and during Purge night.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Liz decides to take a step in badassery after Shane's death by joining the Purge and is never seen or mentioned again. Presumably, she survives the night since the Stranger has made a promise to protect her, but who knows?
    • It is unknown what happened to Tanya's family after her sister murders her, forcing Leo, Eva, and the rest to escape. Seeing the NFFA death squad entering the building with door cutters in order to track down Eva, it is presumed that they all got killed.
  • What You Are in the Dark: While the NFFA is about to kill Eva and Cali, Leo happens to see it and tells himself to drive away but can't and ends up saving them, showing he is indeed a good guy.
  • Woman Scorned: Tanya's sister, Lorraine, flips the fuck out when she has finally had enough of the infidelity going on between her sister and her husband. She calmly walks out of the dining room holding a gun and proceeds to shoot Tanya point blank in full view of their parents and said husband.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Leo has no problems with killing the two sisters in the hunting grounds.
  • You See, I'm Dying: The reason why Eva's father sells himself to be Purged by a wealthy family, with the money slated to go to his daughter and grand-daughter.