Synopsis: Two years after choosing not to kill the man who killed his son, former police sergeant Barnes has become head of security for Senator Charlene Roan, the front runner in the next Presidential election due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.
Release Date: July 1, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Horror
While The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy were both fairly disappointing, the concept behind the movies – that of a single night where any and all crime, including murder, is legal – is compelling enough for audiences to at least give each subsequent movie in the franchise a fair shot. Although it’s still not exactly a slam dunk, the third film, The Purge: Election Year, fixes a lot of the problems that were present in the first two entries.
The Purge: Election Year finds the hero of The Purge: Anarchy, Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo from Warrior), as the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell from “Lost”), a Presidential candidate who, after losing her entire family to the Purge eighteen years earlier, has vowed to end the barbaric holiday. With the annual Purge approaching, the New Founding Fathers of America have coincidentally decided to strike down the rule that protects politicians, meaning Senator Roan is fair game. Despite the best efforts of Leo and his team, an assassination attempt is made, and although they escape, Leo and the Senator are chased out onto the streets where they have to rely on a trio of good Samaritans (Mykelti Williamson from “24”, Betty Gabriel from Experimenter, and Joseph Julian Soria from Camp X-Ray) to help them survive the night.
The big brain behind the whole The Purge franchise is writer/director James DeMonaco (The Negotiator), and The Purge: Election Year feels as if he has found his groove in that slightly futuristic, subtly dystopian universe. On the surface, it’s just an on-the-run type of a movie, but the addition of different characters with unique motivations that come together organically throughout the story provides it with a smartly written and fairly complicated plot. That’s not to say that things are hard to keep track of, just that there’s a lot going on, and even more is exposed as the layers are peeled back over the course of the narrative and the surprise wrinkles in the fabric are revealed.
Of course, it being an election year and all, the timing for The Purge: Election Year could not be better. The political allegory is even more obvious in this installment than it was in the first two The Purge movies, even if one does not consider the current crop of Presidential candidates. But, with a tagline like “Keep America Great,” it’s pretty clear whose bleak idea of America is being presented in the film.
Comparatively speaking, The Purge: Election Year is the best overall movie in the series. It’s still not as good as the first half of the first one, but it beats the second by a mile, so the franchise is definitely making strides in the right direction. And that should get everyone excited for Part Four.
The Purge: Election Year is more of an action movie than a horror flick, and the action scenes are mostly on-point. There’s no suspenseful home invasion horror this time; it’s a straight up run-for-your-lives and fight-like-a brave movie. The bulk of the fighting and killing is done with cases and cases of flying bullets, but there are a few heavy weaponry surprises that pop up as well as a couple of hand-to-hand combat situations that keep Frank Grillo busy. The action scenes are well directed and painstakingly choreographed to give the audience more than its share of pulse-pounding fun.
Like the two previous films in the franchise, the horror in The Purge: Election Day lies mostly within the ideas. The handful of jump scares, while effective, are mostly cheap ways to keep the audience on its toes. The real fear lurks within the imagery that is sneakily shown as Leo and the Senator make their way through the streets. There are snippets of Purgers operating homemade guillotines, revelers dancing under bodies hanging from trees, and victims mourning corpses burning in the streets; all things that really have no direct impact on the story, they just serve as horrifying reminders of what can and does happen during the long night. The Purge: Election Year maybe be more action than horror, but there’s still some terrifying stuff that goes on in the shadows.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): James DeMonaco
- Producer(s): Michael BayJason BlumAndrew FormBrad FullerSebastien Lemercier
- Screenwriter(s): James DeMonaco
- Cast: ELizabeth Mitchell (Charlene ‘Charlie’ Roan)Frank Grillo (Sergeant)Mykelti Williamson Edwin HodgeJoseph Julian SoriaKyle Secor
- Editor(s): Todd E. Miller
- Cinematographer: Jacques Jouffret
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Elisabeth Vastola
- Casting Director(s): Terri Taylor
- Music Score: Nathan Whitehead
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USAFrance