The Purge: Anarchy ★★

I would be a liar if I said the idea behind The Purge wasn't interesting to me. And while the first installment couldn't possibly have done the concept justice, with its purge-in-a-bottle limited scope, the expanded scope of Anarchy feels just as limited by its hokey setup.

This film really feels like a thriller-by-numbers and introduces its characters and scenes procedurally. It runs through all of these as if on rails, through a gauntlet of set pieces with stakes of roughly equal weighting. Making it not exactly anarchy, just loosely organized terror. It stacks up to a film with an "and then..." setup - one that telegraphs everything that will unfold and gets less and less compelling as it rolls along.

The finale, intending to give gravity and dimension to the only remotely interesting character (played by Frank Grillo, an underestimated actor in his own right) is ill-considered and clunky.

I'm not convinced this franchise will ever be able to deliver on whatever it is that's compelling about its premise. But Anarchy doesn't even come close.