The Purge: Election Year
July 7, 2016
The Purge: Election Year (**) R
The third film in the surprise hit franchise began three years ago, The Purge: Election Year does hold the distinction of at least making an honest attempt to tie its plot to events that are currently unfolding in our world. That alone may make it worth the effort for some viewers to seek it out but it also presents a unique problem in that once the current political season is over the film’s shelf life may have reached its definitive expiration date. This is the problem that transpires when a film attempts a bit too much to remain topical as TPEY certainly does but the fact that some effort was put into the film’s script is reason enough to give it a bit of leeway, even though its execution could have certainly used some assistance from a more talented batch of filmmakers.
The Purge of the film’s title, for those of you who don’t know or need to have their memory refreshed, is the one day of the year when any crime can be committed without fear of punishment by legal means.
The Purge: Election Year
One of the main reasons for this is so the overpopulated society of the film’s futuristic setting can be thinned out every now and then, although this is not something that the powers at be really want the public to know.
The first film, the best in the series, succeeded as well as it did because it narrowed its focus to one family and their efforts to defend themselves in the midst of said purge. The subsequent entries in the series have broadened their scope of characters while retaining the same basic premise. In TPEY, the hook is that it’s (surprise!) an election year and left leaning senator turned presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is calling for a moratorium on the purge. Of course those who are pulling the societal strings aren’t going to let this happen and dispatch a group of thugs to kidnap the senator and her head of security (Frank Grillo, back from the last Purge film). Mykelti Williamson, best known for his role as Bubba in Forrest Gump, is the owner of a deli who is saddled with the task of rescuing Senator Roan and her head of security.
This entry in the series just feels sort of rote for the most part. There’s a pervading sense of been there, done that, which permeates the film. The violence is also played for laughs in more instances than it should during the course of the film, which also doesn’t help the film get across any of its more subversive points that it may be trying to reach. Let’s hope that this Purge is the last one for a while.
TPEY is playing everywhere.
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