The Purge: Election Year (2016) – Purge and purify

cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria, Edwin Hodge, Betty Gabriel

director: James DeMonaco

“Feel the Purge!”

Out of all the bat-shit crazy ideas out there, James DeMonaco was hit with one of the best. How about if one day, The United States would be saved by a group dubbed the New Founding Fathers of America, who would allow that one night, every year, all crime including murder, would not go punished. The souls would be purged, poverty and crime would hit a new time low and everything would be sunshine and roses.

This bat-shit idea spun three movies and by the  looks of it – box-office wise – we might see a new trilogy in the making. And why not?

As insane and vile as it sounds, the Purge makes a statement, a statement about our world. About our inclination towards violence, our pleasure to see blood and gore, out sadistic side and our unfulfilled wish to be able to get even.

DeMonaco offers the movie. It’s a social-horror which delivers a potential threat. The ”what if” threat.

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It’s not a hit only on the United States By the time The Purge: Election Year hits the cinema, in the movie we see that the NFFA has sanctioned the Purge Tourism. You’re from Europe or Asia? You wish to cleanse your soul and purge?  Apply for a VISA and start putting money aside for some fancy weapons. After I saw the movie and laughed at one scene, I suggest the writers to do some research and embrace the semi-automatics for key scenes. When you go for a show down, you don’t carry a six barrel shotgun. An AK would do the work.

If the first movie had an intimate scenario and the second took the entertainment to the street, the third part embraces the political aspects. You have your doe-eyed, senator fighting the NFFA. My problem – I know, my moral compass died the day they killed Alex Krycek – was….I wishes the writers would have eliminated the dear, darling senator. Why? Because on the long term, she will be the one to be the most easiest target to corrupt. Don’t fight her. Seduce her. See? I can take the cookie idea and roll with it in new and more fucked up ways.

That is one major aspect of the Purge 3 extravaganza I didn’t enjoy. The fact, the writers took the easy road. The good guys win, the bad guys rebel and/or die. I had hoped to see the following scenarios:

  • senator Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell in a very shallow and superficial performance) corrupted by the dark-side or eliminated by the NFFA;
  • Leo (Frank Grillo, so much talent, do watch him in “Kingdom” yet wasted to the point his lines sounded so lame, they might have been put together by a teenager trying his craft for fanfics) corrupted or killed
  • Dante Bishop (Carmello Jones’ successor) eliminating the NFFA and becoming the new threat and the new face of the Purge.

Sadly, the movie took the easy way around and unlike “Anarchy” it didn’t deliver too many Purge scenes to remember. These scenes were rather dull and less entertaining. Sure, you had a few moments here and there but let’s recall the wacko lady from Anarchy, shouting Biblical non-sense from the roof, or the bus on fire, the gangs getting ready to Purge. “Fun” times. This time, we get the way over the top evangelist with a political agenda who ran out of Xanax. So much potential wasted.

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If “Anarchy” had some funny lines, “Election Year” feels like it’s been left in the hands of a rookie who can’t write some decent dialogue. “Good night blue cheese!” Seriously? Look at Grillo’s face most of the times he has to speak. He wishes he wasn’t uttering those lines. A senator who doesn’t follow security protocol? What? We’re waxing superhero bravado with stupidity? Like I said, senator Roan is a lame character, acted poorly who could have been developed better.

“The Purge: Election Year” went full speed with a political background but forgot to be entertaining and put together a slew of characters with little to no charisma. You simply don’t give a damn about them. Their stories are borrowed from various tropes, using the same old scenario of pitting the poor against the rich. You begin to enjoy the no-names. The various judges and purgers, decked out and ready to purify their souls. They paint a better image of the beast lurking in each and every one of us.

With the good and the bad, “The Purge: Election Year” strives towards another sequel because the simple yet terrifying ideas is one of the best ones out there in the cinema. It’s the frightening “what if”. In a not so distant future, Purge and purify might not be so far from the cringing reality.

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