Saturday, October 22, 2016

Film Review - The Purge: Election Year (2016)

The Purge: Election Year (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"It's a rehash of the previous film with tacked-on political elements."

Former police sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) serves as head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), a Presidential candidate who is targeted due to her attempts at stopping the annual Purge...

The Purge: Election Year is really more of the same. You're quickly introduced to a set of generic characters, they are attacked and forced into the streets, then they have to fight for survival. Election Year, of course, attempts to capitalize on the current political turmoil with half-assed political commentary. The New Founding Fathers are the creepy white people who control everything from behind the scenes, Senator Roan is the flawless beacon of hope that every minority can look up to – that's essentially all the film gives you. There's really not much else to talk about in terms of plot, either. Like I said, it felt like a rehash of Anarchy with a new set of paint. The ending was pretty weak, too.

Election Year isn't a bad movie, it's just not a very good one. Thanks to its similarities to the second film, Election Year still feels reminiscent of The Warriors. It has that 'run-like-hell-or-die' vibe. This exciting sensation is amplified thanks to the gruesome world the film develops. The plot is also well-paced for most of the film. I felt like the first two acts were fast, then it sort of lost steam towards the end. Unfortunately, being a clone of the second film is all it really has going for it. The new elements in this film, like the heavy-handed political commentary, feel tacked-on. The characters are forgettable. The dialogue is atrocious. When it doesn't feel like The Warriors, it feels like you're watching a cheesy b-movie – and that cheese was rotten years ago.

Frank Grillo performs very well as Leo Barnes. He doesn't have much emotion due to his lack of character in this film – he was already developed in Anarchy, so I digress – but he nails the badass performance. Elizabeth Mitchell performs well, too. She really nails that self-righteous politician performance. Unfortunately, as I already stated, the painfully bad dialogue hurts some of the performances. The film was written and directed by James DeMonaco. I thought he found a strong balance in the second film – it wasn't perfect, but he created something suspenseful, exciting, and somewhat compelling. In this case, I feel like DeMonaco was blindsided by 2016's political climate. The writing tries to reflect American politics, but it just felt so half-assed – as if DeMonaco didn't have enough time to really write this. On top of that, Election Year feels like it was just recycled, which is disappointing.

Overall, The Purge: Election Year is a decent film. It sits somewhere between mediocre and good. The concept is still compelling, the execution offers some suspense and excitement, but there's not enough here to warrant a sequel. It's a rehash of the previous film with tacked-on political elements. It feels half-assed, which is disappointing considering the quality of Anarchy.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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