Thursday, July 7, 2016

'PURGE: ELECTION YEAR' REVIEW - "THE SOUL OF OUR COUNTRY IS AT STAKE" [SPOILERS]

The 'Purge' films get a lot of flack. I've heard some reviewers refer to fans of the purge films as sociopathic. After all, these are not highbrow films, nor do they stimulate intellectual conservation. And yes these films are violent, but thankfully, writer and director James DeMonaco never crosses the line into "torture porn" territory. The horror of the film is all about the buildup. The tension is created in the idea of "what could happen" and less on what is actually happening. But what these films lack in critical acclaim, they more than make up for in their entertainment value. Lastly, these films are highly allegorical. The symbolism and social satire in these films only add to its charm.
BLESSED BE AMERICA,
FOR LETTING US PURGE,
AND CLEANSE OUR SOULS
-Minister Edwidge Owens
The film begins with a flashback of a young woman Charlie Roan and her family being terrorized and a tortured by a purger. The purger asks the mother who out of the four family members should live? It's a terrible choice and a frightful moment. Eighteen years later, Charlie (Elizabeth Mitchell) is a senator running for the presidency of the United States. The country is purge-worn and Charlie's platform of eliminating the purge is starting to gain traction. She is neck and neck in the polls with one of the New Founding Father's, Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor, of 'Homicide: Life on the Streets').

SHE'S GOING TO MAKE REAL CHANGES.
-Marcos

One of the more interesting scenes in 'Purge: Election Year' is when the media reports that America's annual purge attracts a large number of international visitors who wish to participate in the mass killing. The purge may be losing it's domestic appeal, but it's still more popular than ever. As has been noted in earlier Purge films, some people benefit from the purge more than others.

WE'RE GOING TO USE THIS YEAR'S
PURGE TO DO SOME SPRING CLEANING.
-Leader Caleb Warren

Charlie's challenge to the new founding father's does not go unnoticed. In an effort to purposely eliminate her (and allegedly promote equality), they remove the government official exemption from the purge. Now it's on. The film briefly descends into mediocrity when Charlie refuses to listen to her no-nonsense security guard, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo). Barnes returns from 'Purge 2: Anarchy,' which is still probably the series' best installment to date. Barnes' original storyline as a grieving father has been transformed into that of a secret service agent.

MY GOD, 
HOW DID IT GET TO THIS?
-Senator Charlie Roan
Because Charlie wants to continue to give people the impression that she's a "woman of the people" she refuses to allow Barnes to take her to a more secure location. Instead she insists on staying in her semi-secure house during purge night. Needless to say the "fit hits the shan," which is evident in the trailer. Barnes and Charlie go on the run from neo-Nazi mercenaries led by Earl Danzinger (Terry Serpico, of 'Army Wives'). The Nazi mercs have been employed by the new founding fathers because why win an election fair and square when you can just kill them?

YOU TAKE A LOT OF RISKS SENATOR.
-Leo Barnes
I HAVE TO.
THE ONLY WAY I CAN WIN.
IS TO RISK EVERYTHING.
EVEN MY LIFE.
-Senator Charlie Roan
What follows is the usual wild ride through purge night. Thankfully she and Barnes have a little help from some newly found friends, including deli owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson), his assistant Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria), and a rogue EMT Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel). The former get caught up in the madness of the evening after confronting spoiled teenage shoplifters turned purgers.

WE HAVE ONE GOAL RIGHT NOW.
SURVIVAL.
-Leo Barnes
The cast is another thing I like about 'Purge: Election Year.' I think the movie passes the bechdel test in the first five minutes. There are actually enough women in this film to talk to each other...and this is a freaking action film! The cast is more gender and ethnically diverse than any film I've seen this year, which is sad.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND 
WHAT'S AT STAKE HERE?
-Leo Barnes
Edwin Hodge makes yet another cameo as freedom fighter Dante Bishop. Hodge is the only actor to have appeared in all three films. If you are a fan of the franchise, you will recall that the series began with Bishop fleeing into James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) house for protection against the purgers. One of Bishop's freedom fighter's delivers the best line of the film when explaining they will use the tunnels that George Washington built to aid in their fight.

THE ORIGINAL FOUNDING FATHERS 
ARE GOING TO #!&% OVER 
THE NEW FOUNDING FATHERS.
'Election Year' is not as intense and pulse pounding as 'Anarchy,' but it holds its own. This purge film also has some religious overtones, as the new founding fathers invoke religion to uphold the purge. As I noted above the social satire and action carry the film, making it an excellent sequel. Even little things like the ghoulish costuming add to the film's macabre nature. It's rare for sequels to be as good or better than the original films, but Demonaco continues to deliver another satirical creepfest.

THE PURGE TARGETS THE POOR 
AND THE INNOCENT.
-Senator Charlie Roan

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.

20 comments:

  1. I've never watched any of the films. Sorry, I just can't wrap my brain around the concept.

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    1. I understand. It's a satirical horror film. It's not meant to be taken at face value. I think you would enjoy the first one.

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  2. I've never seen any of the Purge films, they just didn't seem like something I'd enjoy, but I'd never fault fans of a series that I don't like (unless it's Twilight lol) I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

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    1. Ha ha...yes no to Twilight. I really like the Purge films. You should give it a go. I would definitely recommend them.

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    2. I also haven't seen either of those...maybe i'll make triple feature for Halloween this year

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    3. Ha ha, I think these would make great Halloween flicks! I hope you enjoy them.

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  3. I watched the first movie of the series a few months ago. Found it on Netflix so me and my Player 2 gave it a go, knowing that we enjoyed watching the Japanese Battle Royale for example. The Purge is not for any viewer though. Sure, there is some gore on screen, but to me it was more about the horror of what happens inside the characters' heads. I remember just asking myself when I finished watching; "what if it became true one day...?". Didn't know that there were other Purge films, thank you for a new idea of what to watch next pizza night! :)

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I really enjoyed the first film. I agree with you that it is really about the horror in their heads. That is a really great way to put it! Sometimes after witnessing black friday I think we are but a few steps away from the purge.... Yes, I would recommend Anarchy. I thought it was better than the first one.

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  4. Love these movies and I'm addicted to them as well! Anarchy is still my favorite out of the series. Such an interesting and frightening concept.

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    1. Hi thanks for your comment! Yes, I agree. Anarchy has been the best film in the series so far.

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  5. I've seen both of the first two Purges, and I enjoyed them. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Election Year. I love the fact that Bishop is in this one as well...it's more of a sequel to the original.

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    1. If you've seen the first two, then you'll really enjoy this one. It's a really great follow-up. I'm so glad to meet another Purge fan!

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  6. Great review:) I'm oddly repulsed and fascinated by the purge concept all at once. I prefer to watch it at home so I can skip the boring parts too:)

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    1. Thanks! Ha ha, I don't think there are any boring parts. But I think your description is accurate. It's oddly fascinating and repulsive at the same time! A strange combo.

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  7. Huh. Nope. Never seen them, probably never will. I try to keep my viewing to PG-13. It's a personal choice.

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    1. Ha ha, I don't blame you. These films are an acquired taste!

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  8. The first one was okay, the second not so much, and I'll pass on this one.
    Thanks for the info though!

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    1. Ha ha, I understand! Not everyone's cup of tea!

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  9. I gotta admit I hadn't been interested in any of The Purge movies, but I might give this one a rent. It IS rare for sequels to be as good or better than the original films, so kudos to the filmmaker!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ruth! These are fun little films. You should give them a whirl around Halloween.

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