For most of the film, returning writer-director James DeMonaco favors gore and shock inserts of music over the edgy, nasty parody for which the material seems ready made.
DeMonaco is more interested in scenarios than in stocking them with human beings. Everybody here is a backstory in a T-shirt.
Grillo's performance will make you wonder why he didn't start headlining movies like this before turning 50; his is the soft-spoken kind of charisma that helped make half of the Expendables into stars back in the '80s and '90s.
The Purge: Anarchy is basically a slasher movie in which society is the deranged killer. It plays like it's already a grindhouse classic - dark, dirty, and disreputable.
"The Purge: Anarchy" is more in line with what people going to a "Purge" movie would want out of a "Purge" movie.
An equally effective, deliciously disturbing movie.
Somehow, the fact that writer/director James DeMonaco is more ambitious with his sequel makes it that much more disappointing.
It is better than the first film in almost every way but that doesn't mean it's appreciably smarter or has appeal to those who like meat on their action-oriented bones.
Government-sanctioned mayhem continues unabated in the follow-up to last year's surprise hit The Purge, but the wickedly satiric sense of humor that made the original worth watching is nowhere to be found.