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I'm a big fan of thriller & horror movies where the threat are real
people rather than ghosts. Hostel, Saw, Wolf Creek are some of my
favourite sequels. The Purge, with its intriguing concept, was also one
of them... until I watched Election Year.
Nothing wrong with the cast, movie style or effects. It's just that the stereotypes have become so annoying in this third movie! It would be okay if the director were able to make it more subtle, but since the movie is dumb proof, the persistent displays of "LOOK HOW WHITE PEOPLE ARE CORRUPT AND BAAAAD! LOOK HOW GOOOOOOD THESE POOR IMMIGRANTS AND DARK-SKINEED PEOPLE AAAAARE! LOOK HOW EVERYONE WHO COMMITS MURDER IS CRAZY - EXCEPT THE ONLY SANE, GOOD GUYS WHO KILL THEM." can get pretty annoying.
What was supposed to be a nice date with the person I dragged to the theatre after months waiting for the premiere... became a stressful session of torture to the audience's intelligence.
"The Purge: Election Year" (2016 release; 105 min.) brings the
continued stories of the Annual Purge, set somewhere in the
not-too-distant future. As the movie opens, we are treated to a "Purge
playlist" (T. Rex; George Clinton). and we witness how a family is
being purged by an evil-doer. We then are told "18 Years Later--2 Days
before the Purge", as we get to know US Senator Roan, the sole survivor
of the family massacre 18 years ago, and now campaigning to end the
Purge. That is not to the liking of the ruling NFFA, a white
supremacist-trending party. With Roan just 1 point behind in the polls,
the NFFA decides that Roan must be 'taken care of' in the upcoming
Purge. In a separate story line, we get to know Joe, owner of Joe's
Deli, who confronts some teenage women trying to shoplift candy. We're
10-15 minutes into the movie at that point, but to tell you more would
spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how
it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the third movie in the Purge franchise, again written and directed by James DeMonaco. The sole returning character from the second movie is Barnes (played by Fred Grillo), who now has become the head of security and trusted right-hand man of Senator Roan (played by Elizabeth Mitchell, still best known for her role in the TV series Lost). While DeMonaco cleverly picks up on certain undercurrents in the political scene as we know it today, as well as mixes in other current themes (the use of drones), the movie takes a dangerous turn by playing up the racial card to the max, with the NFFA clearly patterned after the South African ANC's Apartheid regime. Political considerations aside, the movie does a good job of raising the tensions but for me the movie is also too predictable and frankly a bit too long.
"The Purge: Election Year" opened wide this weekend (to coincide with July 4, of course). The Saturday evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was PACKED, and close to a sell-out. Seemed like the audience was enjoying the movie, hollering and hooting at all the bright moments. I sorta enjoyed the movie, although something bothered me about playing up the political and racial undertones. As a social experiment, the idea itself of an annual 'approved' purge, remains fascinating to check, although I believe that if the Purge franchise is to go on, some new ideas are badly needed. Bottom line: this is till worth checking out if you liked the first two Purge movie. If you are new to this franchise, I'd still recommend the first one as the standard bearer of this franchise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film was god awful. I expected it to be at least a little entertaining but its not. The trailer for the film pretty much spoils the entire movie. The acting is the equivalent to a pornography film and the cinematography is beyond terrible. It's a cliché cash grab that is not worth the money to see in theaters or buy on blue-ray. I even found myself laughing at how bad some of the scenes in this film are, specifically the ending where the whole thing is predictable. Hell even in the second act of the film, they introduce these "Candy Bar" girls who not even kidding try to kill a main character for a candy bar. The script is lazy and not engaging in any way. The tension completely drops as you realize the protagonists will always find a convenient way out of a bad situation. Deus ex Machina. Do not see this film unless you want to have a laugh with a couple of friends over how bad it is. It's really not a good movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think it's cool that this franchise seems to be evolving to what the
fans want. I didn't like the first Purge movie but I did want to see
where the idea would go. So the movie going public seemed to
collectively say "make another one but go bigger, show it on a national
scale." That's exactly what they did with The Purge: Anarchy and it was
much better. The Purge: Election Year is more about the political side.
It's pretty topical and The Purge franchise has always worn it's
politics on it's sleeve so you have to accept that going into it. With
the election in the U.S.A. coming up, there is a lot of good material
to tap into so I was eager to see where it would go.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* We actually start the movie pretty far back in the past. A family is tied up on their couch, they are bloody and bruised and have obviously been tortured already. The villain has a mask on and is rocking out hard. He's enjoying himself and talking about how careful he was in selecting specific songs for his Purge playlist. He tells the family that they have arrived at the final purge game, he tells them only one of them is going to survive the night and that the mom gets to choose.
We then flash many years ahead of time (approx. 15-20) where the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) are running into problems. The word is out about the Purge, how the government is using it to eliminate the lower class. A political candidate running as an independent Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell, Charlie was the same little girl from the opening) has gained enough of a following that she is threatening to win the election and to topple the current regime being led by Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor) and the NFFA. Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is the head of her security team. He supports her completely but he's annoyed by her disregard for protocol. Meanwhile, the NFFA are less than pleased for sure and decide to have her taken out on purge night.
In the spirit of the previous film, we don't just follow Charlie and Leo. Also in Washington D.C. a shop owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williams) and his hired worker Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) are anxious about the upcoming purge. Joe's purge insurance has been raised exponentially and he cannot rely on their protection. To make matters worse, there's a couple of teenagers with attitude to burn who are trying to shoplift from his store. If not from some help from Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel) they might have got away with it. Laney is already busy on Purge night running a triage van, Joe and Marcos resolve to come back and protect the store.
This franchise expands the mythology and keeps expanding it's world with each passing movie which is impressive. Sometimes when it comes to sequels, the studio and the creative team are just content to just repeat the same formula. Not in this franchise. In this one, people are travelling to the U.S. to be part of The Purge, people are trying to make money off it with elaborate costumes and offering services for money like body removal. It's cool that James DeMonaco and his team aren't just content to coast on what they've built and try something different each time.
The Purge: Election Year also represents a change of genre. The first Purge was a straight bottle horror film. The Purge: Anarchy brought more action in but still was survival horror. Election Year is an action movie with horror aspects. There's a few cheap jump scares but anything that's meant to be scary is more through the imagery. I have to commend the people who designed the sets, the costumes and even the cinematography. The designs are more freakish and the costumes while outlandish are very creative and are creepy as hell.
So while I want to keep heaping praise on this, I'll get into the more mixed aspects here. Starting with the plot, the direction they decide to take it in is interesting with the fight against the purge actually forming. The character development hasn't been the deepest throughout the franchise but I think this one takes a step back with the exception of Charlie and Leo. I just didn't care as much for guys like Joe, Marcos and Dante compared to the characters of the previous entries. I also thought the dialogue was pretty bad throughout. I felt bad for Mykelti as so much of his dialogue is very hokey and cringe-worthy at points. So while there's some new and interesting stuff in the writing, it's not all great and not every aspect of Election Year is exponentially better.
I think that with the acting you get 2 really good acting jobs and the rest are a mix of okay to bad. Frank and Elizabeth carry the movie, they're the most believable and you want to follow them. I don't want to blame Mykelti and Joseph too much , they're saddled with some lacklustre parts of the script. The villains (the NFFA and the evil purgers) were overdoing it but in a weird way it fit the movie. This movie is far from subtle and their performances were consistent with that.
When it comes to The Purge franchise, I think that Anarchy is still the best entry. Anarchy completely achieved what it wanted to achieve and was a deeper movie than you would think at first glance. The Purge: Election Year builds on the groundwork of the first 2 movies well even though it has some setbacks. With the heavy political message it conveys, it won't please everyone and I understand that. I'm up to see another entry though and watch where The Purge will go next.
So I'll start off by saying that I actually liked the original Purge, I
know many people were expecting it to be a bit bigger and to expand
more on the premise but I still enjoyed it and thought it was a pretty
fun Horror/Thriller. Then the second Purge (which really wasn't a
sequel, more of just a separate movie set in the same universe apart
from one little tie in) came out and I enjoyed that one as well,
however I thought it was a bit more cheesy than the original and it was
really more of an Action/Thriller than a horror movie. I was pretty set
with those two, I didn't think there was any need to continue on with
the franchise, but we rarely ever get big release horror movies anymore
so I decided to just suck it up and give The Purge: Election Year a
So the premise was actually pretty interesting, a Senator whose family was slaughtered in front of her on Purge night is running for president in an effort to stop the Purge. However from there things start to get really really stupid. Since her opposition wants to keep her out of office they decide to disband the law that protects political officials on Purge night, thus making her fair game. When this news is shared with the Senator she decides that instead of locking herself up in a safe house (which would keep her and her dream to stop the purge alive) she'll just put the life of herself and the lives of her security team in jeopardy by just hanging out at her house on Purge night. This is one of many stupid decisions made by the Senator, and that is one of the main reasons why I found it very hard to root for her. Luckily she has a bad ass security guard (the main character from the second film) who is there to rescue her when things go south on Purge night, from there the film basically just becomes a rinse and repeat of the second film. There is also a sub plot about a extremely cookie cutter deli owner who will do anything in his power to protect his deli.
I think my main issue with the film is that the characters were just so cheesy and unrealistic. All the good guys who we are suppose to care for just ooze cheese and almost every line that comes out of their mouths is cringe worthy. The is one character in particular (the deli owner) who I found myself rooting against because he was just such a lame and unbelievable character, they actually tried to give this guy catch phrases. These felt like characters out of a bad action movie, and that's really what this film was at it's core, a lousy action movie in a horror setting. The villains weren't much better, at one point they try to pass off a group of obnoxious teenage girl as villains, the scenes with these girls were drawn out and extremely irritating, these characters belonged in a teen comedy not a R rated "Horror" film.
All in all I thought this was a lousy sequel and that the Purge Franchise would have been better after just being two films. They basically just repackaged The Purge: Anarchy with worse characters and a little bit more of an expansion on the story. The worst part is they will probably make more of these, they will run this franchise into the dirt just like the Paranormal Activity franchise. My expectations were not very high, yet I was still pretty disappointed.
I'm not a fan of this franchise, but I have to admit that it has got more ambitious with each new film. The Purge wasted its complicated (and too improbable) premise on a typical home invasion tale. The second film, The Purge: Anarchy, focused on the urban chaos. And the third part, The Purge: Election Year, (excessively) exploits the political satire which had barely been suggested in its predecessors. This doesn't mean that The Purge: Election Year is a very good film, but at least, it offers a more interesting and fluid story, supported by a relevant message... even though it's said on such an obvious and strident way that it's difficult to take it seriously. The ridiculous exaggeration employed by director and screenwriter James DeMonaco in every aspect of the movie barely surpass the reality; 3 years ago, when the original film was released, the Purge looked like a distant fantasy, but we are currently so close to that social collapse that an even more extreme screenplay is needed in order to return to the fiction field. The bad thing is that DeMonaco's narrative manipulations keep being weak and illogical: the heroes make inexcusable mistakes, while the villains vary between invincible and incompetent, according to the requirements of each scene; and the political rhetoric of the screenplay seems written by a first semester university student who has just read his first communist pamphlet. But, well... at least, the actors make a good work in their roles, bringing an appropriate balance of humor and seriousness. Frank Grillo brings a credible performance, while Elizabeth Mitchell is perfect as Senator Roan. And as common people trapped into the violence of the Purge, we have Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria, Betty Gabriel and Edwin Hodge... they all play cinematographic clichés, but they still managed to bring humanity to their characters. In conclusion, I wasn't left very satisfied by The Purge: Election Year, but it didn't bore me and I found it superior to the previous two films, so I can give it a slight recommendation, mainly to the followers of this saga and public servers searching for spiritual peace because they aren't as evil as the ones portrayed in this movie.
I love a good action movie. The last two "Purge" films were okay,
nothing amazing, but I was willing to give this one a shot. Honestly,
it was nauseating - not from violence, but from politicization.
Regardless if a movie's political message resonates with me or not, if
it gets to overshadowing the whole thing, then I feel it ruins the
film. That was the case here.
I was fully expecting cheesy one liners (trust me, plenty of those) and gory action, and if that's all you want from this film, then I think you'll like it. I wanted to be lighthearted and enjoy it, but it went sour from preachiness REALLY fast.
I'm just glad that I went to a free screening - if I had spent my money on this, I would have been mad.
In Washington, Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is disputing
the Presidential election running against the New Founding Fathers'
candidate Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor). She claims that the NFFA
uses The Purge with economical purpose to get rid of poor and sick
people and is the favorite to win. The BFFA leaders plot a scheme
revoking the protection of government officials to kill Roan. Her chief
of security Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) uses his agents and snipers to
protect Roan, but there is a breach in the security system created by
two agents that betray Barnes and a paramilitary group breaks in the
house killing the loyal agents and snipers. However Barnes and Roan
succeeds in escaping but Barnes is shot on the shoulder. They are
captured by a group of Russian tourists and rescued by two locals that
are protecting a store. They call their friends and they decide to
protect the Senator until the next day. Will they succeed in protecting
"The Purge Election Year" seems to be the last chapter of this franchise; but the riot in the very end of this movie may be the beginning of another sequel. The idea of the dystopian society is too much imbecile and unrealistic. Therefore there are only funny and violent situations to entertain the viewers. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "12 Horas Para Sobreviver - O Ano da Eleição" ("12 Hours to Survive- The Election Year")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With all immunities revoked everyone becomes game on Purge night and a
bodyguard must protect his boss to help end the Purge one and for all.
Whereas the first instalment was very much confined to one location and its sequel The Purge: Anarchy had wider city scope, in this third instalment it goes further in scale story wise, touching on the politics involved. Interestingly it also touches on tourist visiting to take part in the Purge.
Elizabeth Mitchell (of TV's V) is perfectly cast as senator Roan who is campaigning for the Presidency and intending to end the Purge. Not only does she look the part,she is a convincing actor. While were not given any great further insight into actor Frank Grillo's returning Leo Barnes he gives a great physical performance as Roan's security head. Director/writer James DeMonaco offers some hard hitting violence and action, there's a good setup where the senator is betrayed and they have to make their escape.
As a shop owner and his co-worker thwart an attack from the local female yobs who are lit up in fairy lights touting guns and disc cutters, they then help the senator and Barnes. DeMonaco injects some good character interaction and dialogue, with the on location feel adding to the city realism. Actor Betty Gabriel's Laney Rucker is memorable as she goes about helping both groups. Later after the senator is kidnapped - to be sacrificed at midnight Purge mass, Rucker and her anti-Purge team assist Barnes in a violent rescue attempt.
DeMonaco's third instalment has plenty of night-time atmosphere akin to Anarchy's feel but even with the higher stakes, chaos, murder and haunting images on display it doesn't feel to have as much tension as the second outing. The ending while satisfyingly finishing of the trilogy does leave it open for future films with pro-Purge unrest.
Nevertheless, it's a solid entry, if you enjoyed the first and second this will meet expectations.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thought the first movie was unsettling, and a great thriller. The
second still delivered the goods, although it wasn't quite unsettling.
But this one is a lackluster effort. Except for the climax in the
church, there's nothing to recommend "The Purge: Election Year" With
that girl attempting to shoplift, you can sense the movie is headed for
an opportunity to be something, but alas, it is not to be. I have a
feeling part 4 (and I read somewhere there will be) will be even less
interesting than this one. There either needs to be an improvement, or
just retire this franchise altogether. Any more mediocre efforts like
this, and it might have to be retired anyway.
** out of ****
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