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Movie Review: The Purge Election Year (Spoiler Free)

Updated on July 13, 2016

Author's Perspective

This author has seen both prior Purge films. The first one came across a bit disappointing as it seemed to remain only a house invasion film. The second was much more interesting with the focus of a larger picture and sub-cultures growing in response to the Purge event. Largely I'm a fan of the series more for the focus of how it affects the world rather than the slashing and killing. They do a very good job creating a suspenseful environment with more than a couple of jump scares.

A film poster for The Purge: Election Year
A film poster for The Purge: Election Year | Source

Initial Impressions

I've enjoyed this series a lot, not for the overly slashy-kill-kill bits (which admittedly isn't overly glorified compared to other works) but for the generated world. It's this sandbox I'm most interested in with every new entry (especially after the first one was limited to a single house). As the first film was located in a house and the second took place throughout a city, this film focuses upwards on a political scale. This is a film focusing on fixing the current world to match more like ours (that is, a Purge-less world).

The second film is by far my favorite since it focuses on how The Purge actually affects those in the world. This film aims higher and I lose a little interest. Like the first film is more of a home invasion film with a more interesting but distant backdrop, this one juggles political intrigue and a lawless state. It's more interesting than the first film for me, but it's not the best.

The Plot

This film continues the momentum of the second film where the government is more involved with The Purge than simply ordaining it. The main hero Leo makes a reappearance as a bodyguard assigned to Senator Roan, a woman politician basing her entire presidency bid on an anti-Purge stance. With the upcoming Purge, the New Founding Fathers have made it acceptable to kill previously untouchable political figures (which of course they would make a rule to where they were invulnerable during the time). As you might guess, things go badly for Senator Roan and they are forced to flee, coming across those who hate the Purge as they attempt to survive the night and continue the presidency campaign.

While the last film explores more of the subcultures that are inspired by the Purge, this film is more of a specific mission. It is kinda predictable with some charming and redundant characters. Frankly my favorite piece of this film were the 'murder tourists,' people from foreign countries that come to America to celebrate the Purge. I would be fascinated to see a film from someone's perspective that goes with their friends not necessarily to Purge but to see and explore such a world.

Frank Grillo returns from the second Purge film as a political bodyguard.
Frank Grillo returns from the second Purge film as a political bodyguard. | Source

The Political Impressions

The New Founding Fathers is more or less verified to be a political party equatable to Republicans and Democrats. They're a radical entity, as you might guess.

There's a throwaway line about how the NRA(National Rifle Association) benefits from the sales of firearms but there's nothing directly attributed.

There are also next to no references to either Republicans or Democrats (wisely). The senator herself is from an independent party, for which I am appreciative.

That's about it.

Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, Once Upon a Time) plays the senator working to undo The Purge.
Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, Once Upon a Time) plays the senator working to undo The Purge. | Source

Rated R

As you might guess about a film focusing on a holiday that focuses on lawlessness, it's not a family friendly film. There's lots and lots of violence, ritualistic sacrifices, religious overtones (to the Purge itself and not to any specific religion), profanity, and so forth. There's next to no sexual content or sexual violence in this film. There are some characters dressed in a provocative manner but it's meant to be more disturbing than titillating.

Closing Thoughts

This film is good and serviceable. It delivers a creepy atmosphere and you sometimes feel for the characters (though I admit I wasn't very emotionally tied to them). This film underplays what I liked most about the second entry but I still enjoyed it. Catch a viewing if you liked the previous two films but if you didn't, you may wait.

Tl;dr

  • Third entry of The Purge series
  • Politically aimed compared to the home invasion (first film) and the city focus (second film)
  • Doesn't explore its world nearly as effectively as the second film but it's still very watchable
  • Watch it if you've liked the previous entries; if you haven't seen them but are interested, watch the second film

The New Founding Fathers, responsible for The Purge as a new political party, serves largely at the overarching antagonists this film.
The New Founding Fathers, responsible for The Purge as a new political party, serves largely at the overarching antagonists this film. | Source

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