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Review: The Purge: Election Year

Universal Pictures' The Purge: Election Year

The Purge: Election Year hopes to continue its run in the inexpensive series of horror/action movies that started a few years back. While they’re not great movies, they do have something that appeals to at least some of the general public. If you’re a fan of the franchise to at least some degree, you should happy with the fact that it’s built in a way that can allow it to keep running for years to come. It’s just disappointing that this installment isn’t as strong as it could have been.

In Election Year, we’re still following Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), the protagonist from The Purge: Anarchy. Now, he’s working security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), a presidential candidate who is somehow threatening the all powerful New Founding Fathers for control of the United States. To stop her, they don’t plan on rigging the elections or anything like that, they decide to try to kill her off on the one night every year when all crime is legal.

The plot isn’t exactly plausible even if you choose to ignore common sense. However, that;s not what hurts the movie. Here, it’s the horrendous acting from a few of the actors that disrupts things and manages to take you out of what’s being shown to us quite a bit. Scenes not including these specific people are okay, but they go back to these characters far more than they should have. If I had it my way, they would have either not been in the movie in the first place or they would have been victims of the purge as soon as it started.

Once these characters are made less significant, The Purge: Election Year does manage to gradually improve. Although it’s still not fantastic or anything, it becomes serviceable even if it’s somewhat predictable. For people who love or like these kinds of movies, this may be able to satisfy your need for cinematic carnage. There’s certainly enough here to do that, but I don’t think it’s worth spending money on when looking at the film in its entirety.

As a matter of fact, one of the complaints that I had of the previous film was that it doesn’t have the amount of violence that I anticipated. In this one, they seem to want to make up for it, by giving us more blood, more violence and at least a little less creeping around. This does assist in making the movie better at some point. I just wish they would have made a few changes to the cast and maybe made the movie a bit more believable. Doing those things could have turned this into something that’s worth your time and money.

The Purge: Election Year joins a franchise that’s managing to survive in spite of it not even being considered “must-see” in the minds of people who actually like it. This isn’t the kind of series that will bring much acclaim either way, so just keeping a stable audience should be the target goal of those behind it. In some ways, I think they can continue to accomplish that, but this specific movie in the franchise could also be what turns people off from it for some of the reasons I pointed out. Hopefully, they don’t make this mistake in future installments. Then again, the damage could already be done.

Rating: R

Director: James DeMonaco

Frank Grillo
Elizabeth Mitchell
Mykelti Williamson
Edwin Hodge
Betty Gabriel
Joseph Julian Soria
Terry Serpico

Film Length: 110 minutes

Release Date: July 1, 2016

Distributor: Universal Pictures

  • Score - 3/10
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