I am late to The Purge. Way back when the first trailer for The Purge came out, I distinctly remember saying, “Hey that might be alright.” For whatever reason it fell off the radar, some time passed and just like that The Purge: Anarchy was soon to come out. Again, “Hey that might be alright; still gotta see that first one, though.” More time passed and I found myself the owner of the first two Purge movies knowing full well the day would come when I would partake. That day didn’t come till I saw the trailer for The Purge: Election Year. This time what I said was: “Ok if we are looking at a part three, what’s going on here.” The answer: less than I expected, but that isn’t a bad thing. I am the type who gets excited about not just movies, but franchises. My thinking was, that if this movie is two sequels deep in only three years, there must be demand! “Hey! We are thirteen movies into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, twenty-four James Bond movies and almost thirty Godzilla movies, so The Purge has to be good right”? People can’t be wrong, can they? Answer: yes and no. Billions of people go to McDonald’s but that doesn’t make it amazing, and we do have five Twilight movies and seven Saw movies. But I digress. I did finally watch the first two purge movies over a fortnight. I enjoyed them. The first was a home invasion, siege movie, filled to the brim with bad decisions. The second elevated beyond the claustrophobic scale of the neighborhood, and took place in the city, and effectively inserts touches of an action picture with shootouts and again bad decisions. The third Purge sticks tonally with the second as slightly more of an action picture, but we also get the politics of the purge now, because after all, it is election year. In this view of America, people are getting fed up with the purge, efficacy and class war have divided the country and on one side we have the New Founding Fathers of America, happy with the status quo of the occasionally night of guilt-free, consequence free, butchery and mayhem. On the other, we have Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) A purge victim, who is gaining traction with her platform of ending the purge. The old, pro-purge white folks just can’t have that, but hey, it’s a good thing purge night is coming up soon… On our Senators side is returning Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) last time we saw him he was on his way to the hospital after the events of Anarchy. Also returning and making his third purge appearance is actor Edwin Hodge as the new face of the underground movement to end the purge. It’s countdown to Purge Night and for our side characters we have Joe (Mykelti Williamson) and Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) as deli owners and friend, Laney (Betty Gabriel) as a renegade EMT driver. We meet Joe and Laney busting some shoplifters who seem way too angry at their recent humiliation. Joe has also received the unfortunate news that his “Purge insurance” has been jacked way too high to pay, but hey, it’s a good thing purge night is tonight… As 99% of Americans will do The Senator decides to stay home and with the help of Leo her security gets a makeover and it looks like she may just make it. But we have old pro-Purge white folks with a mission. In Anarchy the old, rich, pro-Purge white folks would outsource to local street toughs to do the dirty work and bring them victims. But this is Election Year we don’t have time for half-assed street toughs, we need precision, we need sophisticated Nazi mercenaries with fancy technology to extract this Senator to be made a lesson of. So with some double-crossing and shades of the first purge movie, there is a brief home invasion that the Sarge and the Senator narrowly escape and are off and running for the next twelve hours. Meanwhile, those hooligan shoplifters have returned to poor Joe’s deli to exact their God-given right for revenge, or at least the candy bar they couldn’t get away with. The political issue at the forefront of The Purge: Election Year makes sense in terms of sequel progression. I appreciate that. We could have been given another like the first, a home invasion with twists and turns and jump scares, ad nauseum. But Writer/Director James DeMonaco, attempts to give it scope and consequences and maybe even a finality given the outcome of the film. I also appreciate that he has penned, and helmed all three Purge pictures. It’s new, even for a part three, it’s not a remake or a board game. And it has signs of growth. He inserts small touches of evolution along the way. “Murder Tourists” is the brief idea introduced where foreigners travel to the land of the free to partake in the annual purge. They have a small appearance but an idea like that could expand into the possible sequels to add even more scope and possibilities. The Purge: Eurotrip? The only thing the film may be lacking is confidence. There was room for some potentially interesting backstory with Laney but it wasn’t given time to shine. There is a handful of cringe-worthy, eye-rolling dialogue. It doesn’t ruin the movie, but it takes you out for just a second which can be all it takes. It is definitely not easy to make a movie that treads the line between genres, but it isn’t impossible. It is definitely more of an action film with a handful of jump scares, but a scary movie that does not make. There is one scene where a well-dressed woman sits at a bench next to a gas can as someone burns at her feet, while singing a lullaby. That stayed with me as a reminder that some profoundly evil things could happen on this night, only we don’t get to see that world, which feels like the slightest of bummers. Which makes me think if we get more purge movies they could benefit from a dramatic pullback in scale. That lady with the gas can and lullaby, that’s where the movie is! These are minor complaints on my part, though. Nothing made me think the movie was bad, only things that made me think it could be better. All in all, as a fan of suspension of disbelief films, I enjoyed The Purge: Election Year. I can see how the average viewer may question the absurdity at times. Remember those shoplifting hooligans? They don’t just show up with guns and bad intentions, they come scantily clad, in masks and a car decorated to the brim in lights. There is even a mask salesman early on in the movie. I said to myself, “Ahhh must be his busy season.” As in all Purge movies we see some interesting sights, in this one, down an alleyway there is a guillotine put to use. Does it look cool? Of course. Is it ridiculous? Of course! What makes movies great is a level absurdity that they ALL have. I feel fortunate enough to tolerate it in any portion. The casual viewer may feel differently after seeing The Purge: Election Year. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.