- Written and Directed by James DeMonaco
- July 1, 2016 (United States)
A senator on the precipice of winning the presidency is targeted for assassination by the NFFA on Purge Night.
While not as shocking as the first two films, The Purge: Election Year does have a few disturbing moments. It is much more of an extremely violent action film where once again our main characters must survive Purge Night. Then again there would not be much of a movie if they did not need to survive.
This time the story focuses on Senator Charlene “Charlie” Roan played by Elizabeth Mitchell who is running for president with the main goal of ending The Purge because of what happened to her 15 years prior when her family was killed by a Purger who left her live.
Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), having survived the events of the last film-and getting an actual name-despite getting shot two or three times, returns this time as her head of security. He comes off as a little more paranoid and overly cautious this time. It turns out it is justified. The NFFA, seeing her as a threat, revoke the protection that government officials had enjoyed previously on Purge Night to make it legal to assassinate her.
Betrayed, Barnes and Roan are forced into the streets to go on the run for the next few hours. Along the way they encounter a series of individuals and we the viewer get a more detailed look this time around at how some of the poor deal with Purge Night. They meet deli owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson) who plans on waiting out the Purge to protect his business since he lost his Purge insurance the day before because of a price hike. Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) is Joe’s employee and close friend who joins Joe that night out of loyalty. They get Roan and a wounded Barnes off the street.
Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel) is a former purger who was known as “La Pequeña Muerte”-The Little Death-who now drives around the city and acts as a triage EMT on Purge Night. At some point she came to dislike the Purge and regret the things she did to earn her reputation and is now seeking as some type of atonement by helping the injured. Her reputation stops a pair of teenage shoplifters early in the film which also sets up the confrontation during the Purge which forces Joe and his new friends back into the streets.
I only really remember Betty Gabriel from Get Out which was not that good (though she was a bright spot) but she is exceptionally bad ass here as the former La Pequeña Muerte. You can give a character a cool backstory and a cool name but if the actor cannot pull it off it all falls flat but she pulls it off so well. I need to check out more of her stuff.
The Purge: Election Year takes obvious swipes not only at patriotism but also at religion as well. It also makes clear that the main thrust behind the Purge is racism as the individuals after Roan are clearly white power people, but it is also clear they are hired guns working for the NFFA. They have Confederate flag patches on their uniforms and their leader has several tattoos that are indicative of the white power movement along with an American flag on the side of his head.
A new concept introduced in this film is “murder tourism.” In an opening news blurb, an individual declares that he and friends have traveled from overseas to Purge. This could be a commentary on American influence around the world. But as with this director in the previous two versions it never quite gets there. Maybe because he is trying to spoon-feed things to the audience, and he just assumes they know what he is trying to get at.
It does not hurt your enjoyment of the movie though once you pick up on it it can be a little annoying. But like I said it does not hurt the movie probably because this is done by the guy that started it all. He understands the material and he knows what it needs to make it enjoyable. That helps. You can tell when a director gets onto a project and does not take the time out to understand the material.
Reportedly James DeMonaco has a dislike for guns but ironically the use of weaponry solves all the problems in these movies. There is no way they can take on the bad guys without them. I am not sure how you get beyond them in something like this but that should have been a consideration if accurate concerning the director and guns.
The Purge: Election Year is a good third entry into the series. These films are not for everybody so because of that it is an if you want.