Cinematic Releases: The Purge - Election Year (2016) - Reviewed

The third Purge movie is out tonight. Read our review. 

After a great second film, the third Purge movie comes along and becomes a mild retread of its predecessor. Switching formats from claustrophobic horror to a shoot 'em up style action format served The Purge: Anarchy by bringing something new to the table. With this third go round, the archetypes of the last film are still in place as the franchise begins to amplify its satirical spin on our modern political scenarios while upping the ante of man on man violence. Unfortunately, the horror elements are almost completely lost in this third entry as the initial idea of The Purge gets sideswiped by tons of one liners, less realistic violence, and enough gun play to satiate the desires of any fan of militaristic filmmaking. 

We're here to kill things. 

Borrowing heavily from films like Escape from New York with dashes of The Warriors sprinkled on for good measure, the writers have officially written themselves into a corner that they may not be able to get out of. It's quite obvious from the conclusion of Election Year that they plan on continuing the series. However, from my perspective, it would be cool if they find a way to either head back to a more confined scenario again or find another whole new way to go with the franchise. After two entries putting the main characters on the streets of a big city during the night of The Purge, the context of the story has worn thin and is unbearably dull. As much as I love Frank Grillo kicking ass and blowing heads off, he's served enough time with The Purge. 

When this series kicked off, it was meant to be a modern day tale of legal bloodletting with the full consent of a newly established government. As the series continues to progress, it's taking long strides towards abandoning its genre roots. Steadily and assuredly, The Purge is moving away from being horror and is becoming a bloated social commentary on current government agendas, the radicalization of civilians, guerrilla warfare tactics, and underground freedom fighters. This time around, the writers take hard jabs at religious zealots, racial stereotypes, and self obsessed teenagers. Everything they do with the story is perfectly timed and is uncomfortably eye opening. Yet, it often feels too forced and heavily contrived. 

Remember remember the 5th of of July. Ahhh nevermind. 

With awesome performances from Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Mykelti Williamson, Election Year is definitely worth a watch. Just don't expect the same quality as Anarchy. Too much repetition in this story makes this feel like a rush job that they wanted to squeeze out for the election cycle. Plot points are predictable and scenes are juxtaposed between movies. Their intent was good but the overall motion picture they produced lacks the hard edge and the charisma that they delivered previously. 

If you want some escapist fun at the cineplex, this is an okay summer flick. Just understand you're going into part three territory where all bets are off and no one has anything original to say anymore. 

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