For the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘The Purge: Election Year,’ check out the video below. Or read on for our mini-review!
People either love or hate ‘The Purge’ franchise – there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of middle ground here. And honestly, that’s no surprise. Given the films’ thematic premise – all crime (including murder) is legal for one night, allowing society to “purge” itself of violent thoughts-turned-action — there’s bound to be a polarized take on these movies. They’re a look at what society could be and it’s a little scary to consider the ramifications of that, especially with regards to ‘The Purge: Election Year,’ the third installment of the franchise.
If you haven’t seen the film – and the trailers cover this, so no spoilers here – the basic setup is this: the annual Purge has come to be seen for what it is – a thinly-veiled excuse for ridding society of minorities and the impoverished. One brave senator (played by Elizabeth Mitchell of ‘LOST’ fame) is running for president on an anti-Purge campaign and she’s getting close to a win. Afraid that she’ll undo all the “good” they’ve done, the New Founding Fathers (aka evil white rich men) enact a plan to have her killed during the Purge. Can Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) – the hero of the second film who is now the senator’s security coordinator – ensure she survives the night?
Without spoiling, we’ll say this: as movies in general go, ‘The Purge: Election Year’ isn’t a great film. As Purge movies go, however, we rank as the 2nd best of the franchise. Meaning that if you’ve seen and enjoyed the previous entries, you’ll no doubt appreciate ‘Election Year’ as well. It carries over many of the same elements that made the earlier films so successful while also evolving the franchise and bringing into focus its message. Both leads (Mitchell and Grillo) serve up believable, engaging performances and supporting cast members like Mykelti Williamson (“Joe”), Joseph Julian Soria (“Marcos”), and Better Gabriel (“Laney”) flesh out the stakes of the night. It’s also a treat to see Edwin Hodge (“Dante” from the first film) make a return here as well.
‘The Purge: Election Year’ probably won’t make any top 10 lists this year but, if you’re looking for a thrilling film with something to say about where the United States is potentially heading – especially in this election year – definitely give it a watch – even if you just wait for rental or VOD.
Written by Brad Harris, Movie Bears Podcast