I thought this was a huge step up from the first movie when I first watched The Purge: Anarchy. I still think that but not just because of the drastic shift in tone. Changing it from a single location home invasion story to basically an action adventure helped a lot. It very well could have been the plan of James DeMonaco, who returns as writer/director, to first show the haves and then the drastic difference with the have nots. The change also makes everything in the movie more compelling, to me at the very least.
The cast is pretty interesting. You have five leads but only one continues to take action and drives the plot forward. Frank Grillo as the man known simply as Sergeant is compelling. You can tell that he’s conflicted with what he’s set out to do. He puts in a hell of a performance. His standout scene is when he is in the car talking about his son near the end of the movie. All of his emotion comes through his eyes. His eyes convey a sadness that is unspeakable while everything else about him shows the rage that he has inside of him. The other four leads are played by Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, and Zoë Soul. They all have a great chemistry together. Michael K William kind of steals the show whenever he’s on screen. His acting ability can make even the goofiest of lines seem at least somewhat menacing. I also want to mention Brandon Keener because I wasn’t sure why he looked so familiar to me. Its because he was in an episode of Justified and I love that show. It also turns out that he is the voice of Garrus Vakarian in the Mass Effect series.
I want to mention the production design in this movie again. It is outstanding. The SFX people also just kicked complete ass in this movie like they did the previous movie. I want to point out the bus that just casually roles by in the background of a scene. The stunt people just continue to work their asses of in this franchise.
I will say the scene where Big Daddy basically tells the whole thing about the NFFA killing people was a bit heavy handed, but that’s because it seemed pretty obvious to me what was going on. That’s really the only knock I have against the movie.
You can watch it on Peacock. It’s available for free and subscribed members. Aside from that you can rent or buy it either physically or on your digital storefront of choice.