The Purge: Election Year

2 out of 5

It’s Election Year in America, and no, I’m not referring to the Donald and HRC. I’m referring to a future America, where the New Founding Fathers have created a horrible holiday called “The Purge,” where for one night, over a 12-hour period, any crime is permissible. Including murder. This is the third movie in James DeMonaco’s trilogy, proceeded by The Purge (2013) and The Purge: Anarchy (2014).

Election Year starts off fairly strong with a flashback from 18 years ago, where a family has been tied up and tortured over a horrifying night during the annual Purge. The sadistic killer forces the mother of the family to choose one person to live, and then forces that person to watch as he slaughters the rest of the family. Once the scene is over — we are back in present day, where we are introduced to this movie’s group of heroes. Mykelti Williamson (Bubba, from Forest Gump) is Joe Dixon, a working class man who owns a small deli, his employee Marcos (Joseph Soria) and a woman who Joe helped steer back to the straight and narrow path, Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel). Meanwhile it is election year in the country, and the candidates running could not be more different from each other. One is Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor), the current president, who running on the platform that things should stay the same. The other is Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), who is running to end The Purge, and help America find its soul again. Unfortunately for the New Founding Fathers of America, Senator Roan’s pleas with the country to stop the Purge and return to its roots is gaining traction, and she is seen to be a threat to end their way of life and grip of power over the country. With the Purge seen as a way to eliminate the lower class — especially minorities and underprivileged — the NFFA magnanimously decides to remove the limitations on the Purge — where certain people are protected (namely themselves) — allowing anyone to be killed. Guess who that frees up as a target? The Senator. And we’re off…Through the course of the night, events lead the Senator and her lone protector Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo, from the previous Purge installment), to Joe, Marco and Laney — and from there they spend the rest of the holiday trying to stay alive by outwitting the trained killers hired by the NFFA to eliminate the Senator.

The Purge: Election Year is in interesting look at society, as with this movie (and the previous two), you wonder “Would we really go through with this?” and “How would I protect myself?” Also, “How do these people keep ending up in the streets at night fighting for their lives? Why can’t they just stay in their house?!?” Where The Purge: Election Year differs from its processors is that it — as the title suggests — gets political. To me, this was off putting. I didn’t enjoy the continual references to “my people” and “you people,” and innuendo with symbols and footage from current day events. But that’s just me. I like to go to the movies to be entertained — not preached to — and while I wouldn’t call this “preaching” per say in the movie — it’s still there and it’s distracting. There’s just no need to tie in current political landmines with this fictional world. In addition to that, the dialogue at times feels forced — especially when people are trying to be funny. Ultimately, this movie fails to do what the first Purge did, which is keep you on your heels guessing as to what might happen next and feeling anything for the main characters. The scariest part of the first movie was these genuinely crazy people and the calmness and ease with which they killed. Even the second Purge had elements of that, though it was weaker than the first. This one is missing that bit of unpredictability. In might be time to purge theaters of The Purge altogether.

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Jeremy Wood

Owner of Cinematic Visions…A Professional, Award Winning Video and Media Production Company. Matthew 5:16.