Run and gun with added politics.
Personally, I think the idea behind The Purge is movie-genius. It has so much potential for a mixture of carnage and horror, and also makes everyone wonder what they’d do on Purge night. The first film in the trilogy was average at best, but the second, which took the story out on the streets was a world apart. Here we have the third film, which stays on the streets while trying to round off the Purge saga.
Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) wants to eliminate the Purge. With the election coming up for the presidency, it looks like she might win. But the New Founding Fathers have put a plan in place on Purge night to prevent this ever happening. Fortunately for Charlie, she has Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), who will stop at nothing to make sure The Purge comes to an end.
As you’d expect with the title, politics play an important part in Election Year. It adds context and purpose to our characters, and thankfully it’s never to the point where it overwhelms what we came for – Purge night mayhem, and Christ there is plenty.
Cars covered in Christmas lights driving around, young girls in masks with guns and saws, people dancing round trees with other people hanging from it (by the neck, obviously) – a small selection from the smorgasbord of chaos you’ll be treated to in Election Year. It’s by no means classy, but the action set pieces have a much higher degree of control and intelligence not seen in the previous instalment, Anarchy. This in turn makes everything all the more engaging whilst putting a big smile on your face.
The thrills also keep us from putting too much of our focus on the dialogue, which can be especially mundane when we’re with the lower-level villains. One particular example is a young girl shouting at the owner of a shop, threatening to kill him unless she gets her candy bar – cringe.
Fortunately, the cast is also on top form. Our two leads, Elizabeth Mitchell and Frank Grillo, bounce off each other with their opposing characteristics. Mitchell is a risk taker, whilst Grillo eliminates risk. Whilst it’s hardly the pairing of the year, there’s enough chemistry there to make it more interesting. Their supporting rag-tag cast aren’t just ornaments either, each having their own relevance to the Purge. We root for them, cheering at their successes and stressing when things go wrong.
Writer-director James DeMonaco has somehow pulled off an unheard of feat – the third film being the best. He manages to continue a concept which could have easily grew old fast, whilst entertaining us with exhilarating action sequences and demented characters. Also, more concentration on the cinematography has paid off, with many scenes having that eye-widening quality.
To sum it up…
Election Year is without a doubt the best Purge film. A satisfactory cast – including a tremendous Frank Grillo – lead us through a pulpy, glorious nightmare. Cheesy dialogue aside, it provides a release, which is exactly what I wanted, although it’s not one I’ll need again. “Just remember all the good the Purge (franchise) does.”
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Author: Cameron Frew