Bullet Points: The Purge: Election Year
The three movies that have been released under The Purge banner have given us a peek into a world that could never exist. Not only has the same shadowy cult government been in power for decades, but they also have legalized murder for one day each year. I think we all have learned that a bunch of rich and powerful government cronies would never live that long with all their sexual assaults and rapes looming over their heads. A victim would definitely decide to purge their ass a time or two. Sadly, killing evil government cult members is something that goes unchecked, leaving the thankless job to Frank Grillo and Bubba from Forrest Gump. Guys… they got this!
Synopsis: Former Police Sergeant Barnes becomes head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, a Presidential candidate targeted for death on Purge night due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.
- Mommy’s Choice: The movie opens up with a flashback to some weird purger relaxing on a chair while the occupants of the house, a family of four, lie tied up on the sofa. He then says that his last cruelty towards them that evening will be to play a game he calls “mommy’s choice”. Any cruelty done to them before that seems nice by comparison as he then forces the mother to choose which member of the family will survive the night. It is a horrible thing to think about but also a decision which was probably much easier than psycho killer might have expected. The young daughter survives. It’s important because it introduces us to the character that would grow up to be Senator Roan (played by Elizabeth Mitchell) and gives us a pretty damned good reason as to why she hates the Purge.
- NFFA Power: The same NFFA, or New Founding Fathers of America (I think?), have been in charge now for some time. They instituted the Purge and have been kept in power due to its effectiveness at keeping most crime consolidated to just one day per year. That sounds incredibly unlikely, for one, but also downright silly. It would force you to believe that most people who commit crimes would simply wait several months if they could guarantee they could get away with it. Criminals aren’t the most patient group of people and I can’t imagine a world where some lady who is willing to set her husband on fire is just going to wait 11 months for the annual Purge to come around. Either way, f*ck these NFFA guys, right?
- Check Yo Radio: Frank Grillo’s Leo is Senator Roan’s chief security dude. She’s clearly going to be a major target now that she’s trying to eliminate the Purge and she refuses to go to a safe house. How empowered she must feel? Maybe she should have thought about the 15 security guys she got killed trying to protect her instead of just getting herself elected. Dumb broad…
- Not My Purgers: Unlike the other two movies in the series, Election Year only really spends time with two groups of Purgers: one is a bunch of Eurotrash who flew in dressed as American history figures to kill people, and the other are a handful of teenagers with a killer sweet tooth. Neither group is very scary or even deadly. Most of their killing is done off screen based off of how much blood is on their clothes. In fact, I don’t think either group even notches one single kill on their belt. Sad!
- You Don’t Have to be Smart to get Votes: Senator Roan isn’t the smartest person in the film. She nearly dies on multiple occasions while a whole bunch of innocent people are killed trying to protect her for the majority of the movie. When the final confrontation with the NFFA assholes reveals that they’ve been purging a bunch of low-income people she doesn’t drop down to their level and have them killed. She simply threatens to “kick his ass on election day!” I’m sorry, but if these guys were straight up murdering a bunch of people then beating him in an election isn’t enough.
- Spare Guns: Frank Grillo doesn’t get to be as heroic or badass as in The Purge: Anarchy. He does finally get to go mano a mano with a white supremacist nutjob at the end of the movie, though, and what hero hasn’t dreamt of that? Nazi’s are probably the easiest and least sympathetic of bad guys to kill, save for maybe spawns of Satan, and they’re used in Election Year as a group of mercenaries under the hire of the NFFA. You don’t need to say much about their characters, simply showing that these guys have tattoos and swastikas all over their clothes already gives me all the background into their villainy that I need. Frank doesn’t even need that. The two shoot it out until they run out of bullets and then instead of picking up one of the 15 unused guns at their feet they just walk out into the middle of the garage for a good old knife fight.
- Happy Ending?: Another year, another Purge. The springtime election (huh?) in America sees that Senator Roan wins and her first executive order will be to get rid of the Purge. It’s sad that as an executive order it can just be brought right back by a new President but I guess it’s better than nothing. The end of the news broadcast also tells us that the NFFA are rioting and causing chaos after the loss of their candidate. Sounds more like ANTIFA to me.
Check out these bonus Bullet Points while you set your guillotine up in the alley behind the Subway:
- This movie was originally planned to be a prequel about the very first Purge but was changed when Frank Grillo agreed to reprise his character from Anarchy.
- This film takes place in 2040.
- James DeMonaco has written and directed all three films in this series.
The Verdict: I didn’t hate The Purge: Election Year but I also watched it over the course of three nights. There was nothing special or remarkable about it. The Purge: Anarchy had much more action and a better version of Frank Grillo in it and the first film in the series had a better written story with more empathetic characters. This one was a watered down movie with paint by numbers characters. The only character I cared about was Grillo and I knew he wasn’t going to die. The rest of the people were only there as bullet fodder and a way to fit more stereotypes into a movie that already had no less than 9 racist jokes. If you enjoy the other films in the series than you probably won’t hate this one but I highly doubt this will be your favorite in the trilogy.