Yeah… Frank Grillo was that good.
I don’t often watch horror movies at theatres. I’ve never been a true fan of the genre, not like some of my more horror-obsessed peers here on UTF, but every once in a while, when the mood strikes me, I’ll venture to my local cinema for an afternoon gore-fest. This latest dalliance with the matinees brought me to Purge 2. Not that it was my first choice, or anything. I’ve already binged on this summer’s action fare, so my option of un-seen films was pretty slim. I’ve heard more good than bad surrounding this sequel, and I’m unreasonably obsessed with Frank Grillo after his Winter Soldier performance, so I thought “What the hell! Time for another mediocre horror flick!”.
Dudes, I was wrong.
Purge 2 was fantastic. Not specifically as a horror film, because I’m certainly not knowledgeable enough in that genre to differentiate tired tropes from creative twists, but because this was a Punisher movie. Through and through. Frank Grillo stars as a slick haired, gun toting ex-soldier. He’s on a mission. A mission to avenge the death of his son and rid the world of one less scumbag. Along the way, he encounters a group of unfortunate paupers who fall victim to the Government’s poor-killing methods. Since he is a superhero (I know he’s not actually the Punisher, but he kinda sorta is), Grillo’s unnamed protagonist defends this group of poor souls as they traverse a city on its worst night. Oh, and in case I forgot to mention, this is the annual day of “Purge”, as citizens around the United States are allowed to commit any crime (including murder).
Moreso than any other Punisher movie, Purge fully realizes the revenge driven
Frank Castle unnamed protagonist. He hungers for vengeance. Everything that he loves was stripped from him. His son was killed by a drunk driver who avoided jail time on a technicality. His wife abandoned him for another husband (although I imagine they parted on amicable terms). His only passion is to extinguish his son’s murderer. That’s it. And in his attempt to do so, he realizes that perhaps he has a greater purpose. Perhaps his rage, his desire to deliver justice, applies to more than just himself.
That’s a pretty Punishery plot, if you ask me?
Combine with that the competent direction of James DeMonaco, outstanding gun play, and perfectly executed “redemption through humanisation” scenes for Grillo’s protagonist, and you got a stew going… or a Punisher flick.
Too bad Marvel already cast Purge’s lead actor as Crossbones in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They certainly don’t want to double dip so soon in their cinematic universe’s life. We few fanboys who want to see Grillo as Frank Castle will have to lick our wounds.
Hey, we’ll always have Purge 2, right?