Friday, July 1, 2016

The Purge: Election Year - Review

   If anyone would’ve said that a concept such as The Purge would make it to three films back when the original came out, no one would’ve believed you. Yet here we are at the third entry in the franchise, and they’ll likely be more as the years go by. The first two differed so much in tone, but the third follows in the second’s footsteps, following the on-street tension throughout the runtime.

   As a young girl, Sen. Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) survived the annual night of lawlessness that took the lives of her family members. As a presidential candidate, Roan is determined to end the yearly tradition of blood lust once and for all. When her opponents hatch a deadly scheme, the senator finds herself trapped on the streets of Washington, D.C., just as the latest Purge gets underway. Now, it's up to Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), her head of security, to keep her alive during the next 12 hours of mayhem.

   The premise itself is pretty ideal for a world in which the Purge exists. The senator is causing issues for those in power and they want to end that, and it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. And while the premise works throughout, there are moments that reach the insane moments that don’t feel in place with the rest of the film.  And one of those moments can be the political commentary the filmmakers try to pull off, and while it works at times, it often devolves into too much of that insanity to be anything but violence and suspense.

   Frank Grillo is such a great actor for this type of film. He proved it in the second film and just hammers the point home with this third film. Grillo is a superb action star just waiting for that role to really help him take off. But his partner in non-crime, Elizabeth Mitchell, has just as much responsibility for carrying this film as Grillo. She has a quality that is comforting and somehow makes her completely believable as a senator.  These two actors and their performances are the only ones worth mentioning as the supporting characters don’t have much to do and the background characters continue finding every way to be annoying and cartoony.

   If nothing else the director of the film, James DeMonaco, knows that a fast pace benefits a movie like this. The tension is actually there at times if for nothing else than the sheer terror that the characters are going through. And while the terror is there, it’s a slippery slope to balance on. Many moments feel earned and are truly scary while others are so over the top it’s hard to not roll your eyes.


   Overall, The Purge: Election Year is nothing spectacular but there are certainly worse horror movies out there. It’s better than the first and probably just about even with the second, which will get enough money for the inevitable fourth film. The tension is there and the violence isn’t abundant, just over the top when it’s there.  The film is exactly what you’d expect from a film with this premise, violent and tension filled, with just a little real world sprinkled in. (6.5/10)

So what did you think of The Purge: Election Year? Have you seen it and how does it rank among the first two? Subscribe, share, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and Insight.