Cert: 15 Runtime: 109 mins Director: James DeMonaco Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Juilan Soria, Betty Gabriel and Kyle Secor
We’re looking like a big ol’ bucket of fried chicken
James DeMonaco’s Purge trilogy has been something of pure enjoyment for me over the past few years. The Purge: Anarchy is probably one of my most favourite films of the last few years. Now we finally have got The Purge: Election Year! A lot of people will say these films are terrible but personally they are great popcorn movies. Lots of entertainment never dull and unbelievably they have relevant messages about society today. So what is The Purge: Election Year about? The year is 2025: former cop Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is coming to terms with not killing the man who killed his beloved son during a drink driving incident. Barnes is now head of security for Presidential candidate Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). Roan is ahead in the polls due to her vow to eliminate the Purge, an annual killing spree where all crime is allowed for one night only. It was this one night that resulted in the sadistic death of her entire family. However, dark government forces are determined that the Purge continues, and soon both Barnes and Roan find themselves betrayed and left stranded on the streets of Los Angeles during the deadliest and most terrifying night of the year.
If The Purge trilogy was made in the 80’s it would definitely have a cult status. Election Year is a great film to finish off this franchise, and is the most 80’s-esk movie I have viewed in a while. Anarchy is still my favourite of the three but Election Year was great. Election Year follows the premise of its successors. However, this is the first film that finally makes further use of the concept introduced in the first outing. Rather than relying on solely on the survival of a band of individuals, this film spawns a political premise centring on the lead character running for president and wanting to ban the purge. Politics are not the only subject that grip the spotlight here, the film also employs some psychological elements in the mix. The plot progresses with Frank Grillio reprising from the previous film to protecting the senator when society attempts to turn the tables on her.
We experience not only a more cohesive plot than what we endured in the past but also how the characters including a store owner played by Mykelti Williamson, and the script does a fine with this. Though not all the characters are likeable or particularly developed, the performances the cast delivers stand strong. The crude racial stereotypical dialogue Mykelti Williamson’s character spits out often alternates between very funny and out-of-place but serves as the dark humour counterpart. Aside from a few flaws in the plot and characters, there are plenty of effective heart-pounding thrills and tense action sequences including bloody shootouts that are pulse-pounding to watch, while occasionally tainted by some jerky camera work. Election Year is an intense, thrilling ride that pulls off a rare task of improving upon both the first and second entry, though it suffers some blemishes, manages to make up for one big thrill ride.