The Purge: Anarchy Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
The Purge meets The Punisher
The Purge: Anarchy proved a rare DTV sequel, besting its theatrical predecessor, capitalising on having Frank Grillo in the lead, and expanding on the rich premise of this twisted futurescape.Although The Purge ended up being quite a narrow affair in terms of narrative, it opened up a whole new world of possibility in terms of its intriguing backdrop - one night a year, anybody can kill anybody, with impunity. The second film, similarly low budget, and without even the relative star power of Ethan Hawke, manages to develop this idea into a thrilling night of survival, jettisoning the home invasion constrictions of the first and taking to the streets for some bloody, bullet-trading mayhem. It may not be a top tier production, but it's an indisputable low budget gem; an exercise in balancing efficiency with scope, turning the unusual dystopic battleground into an arena for a more traditional tale of survival and, indeed, revenge.Headlined by the underrated Frank Grillo (Captain America: Winter Soldier), who - based on this - would have made for a great Punisher - the story follows Grillo's mystery man, patrolling the streets on the night of the Purge, with a target in his crosshairs. Getting distracted by a group of innocents who he, reluctantly, has to protect, he eventually has to address the dark driving force within him that brought him to the streets in the first place. The Purge: Anarchy is everything fans could have possibly wanted from a low budget second tier sequel to a low budget first entry, and despite the straight-to-video feel of the release, it's a significant step up, capitalising on the unusual futuristic political backdrop and delivering some satisfying thrills.
Picture QualityThe Purge: Anarchy gets an Ultra HD Blu-ray release as part of Universal's The Purge Trilogy Ultra HD Blu-ray package, which offers up three pleasingly solid upgrades over the original Blu-ray releases.
The digitally shot 2.8K source material may well be limited by 2K Digital Intermediates (DI), resulting in 4K upscales, but the Ultra HD Blu-ray discs boast nicely nuanced 2160p presentations, framed in the movies' original theatrical aspect ratios of 2.35:1 widescreen. The discs use 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and are encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Purge: Anarchy on a Samsung UE55KS8000 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
It's almost all in the contrast with improved blacks and shadow detail
Dropping the budget that even the first entry was afforded, Anarchy adopts a guerrilla street-based feel, and as a result there was always a more hazy feel to it. That said, detail is still quite strong, picking up on the faces, hair, stubble, weathered lines and textures, and nuanced urban environment, irrespective of the pervasive low level light that's adopted to set the mood. As with the first movie, black levels have been dramatically enhanced here, and are much darker and deeper than before, with the biggest improvements coming in terms of the use of HDR and WCG, which afford the piece vibrant colours to juxtapose against the striking blacks, with far more subtlety afforded to the range as a result. In effect, this gives the image more colour detail; a better, more natural, layered look to the tones on offer, which can be quite obvious upon comparison between this and the original Blu-ray. It's almost all in the contrast, and not in the sheer resolution, giving the film a surprisingly impressive improvement on Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Sound QualityThe audio on this new Ultra HD Blu-ray also gets an upgrade from the original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which accompanied the Blu-ray release, which was already an impressive affair, here enhanced by an immersive DTS:X track founded upon an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 core.
The already impressive audio is enhanced by an even more immersive DTS:X track
The audio track is a punchy, exciting affair, trading in clear and coherent dialogue throughout the piece, which is afforded fine presentation across the front and centre channels, whilst effects take in thunderous automatic weapon fire, powerful handguns booming, and screeching tyres and revving engines on the echoing streets. A fantastic LFE edge underpins the effects salvo, with the dynamics allowing for excellent surround use and surprising precision.
ExtrasThe Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Purge Trilogy release doesn't offer anything new in terms of the extras available on the original Blu-ray releases, and doesn't even bother porting the old extras over to the actual Ultra HD Blu-ray discs themselves, but at least the accompanying Blu-ray discs included allow the opportunity to still enjoy them. For The Purge: Anarchy itself, that doesn't amount to much, with a brief Featurette and a few Deleted Scenes.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictThe Purge may not have been a great start, but at least its premise was rich for mining, as was seen in The Purge: Anarchy, the first of two superior sequels which can be appreciated on the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of the trilogy.
A significant step up, capitalising on the unusual futuristic political backdrop and delivering some satisfying thrills
Universal's Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Purge: Anarchy, for the time being, is only available as part of the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Purge Trilogy. It offers up distinct improvements on the video front - thanks to a surprisingly nuanced use of WCG and HDR - as well as an immersive audio upgrade thanks to a new DTS:X soundtrack, and all the extras available on the original Blu-ray disc which is also included here. Fans should strongly consider hunting it down.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £47.99
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