America's third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, comes to power and conducts an experiment: no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one has to stay on the island, but $5,000 is given to anyone who does.
Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, the man known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for over 10 years.
Callum Keith Rennie
As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.
Following Jigsaw's grisly demise, Mark Hoffman is commended as a hero, but Agent Strahm is suspicious, and delves into Hoffman's past. Meanwhile, another group of people are put through a series of gruesome tests.
It's been two years since Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) stopped himself from a regrettable act of revenge on Purge Night. Now serving as head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), his mission is to protect her in a run for president and survive the annual ritual that targets the poor and innocent. But when a betrayal forces them onto the streets of D.C. on the one night when no help is available, they must stay alive until dawn...or both be sacrificed for their sins against the state.
With the holiday coming up, the movie industry is doing its best to rope people into the theaters. You would think something patriotic like a war story, a biography of a founding father, or some type of political coming of age movie. But my first review is on a horror instead that has to due with politics. My review is on The Purge: Election Year, the third installment in a series I never expected to have this much ground. Yours truly heads into the trenches to provide you another review and help guide your thoughts on how to spend your tickets in the theaters.
The GOOD: Comedy Semi Decent plot Suspenseful
The first point has to be a surprise, but yes the Purge: Election Year has some decent comedy to lighten up the aggressively somber mood. I mainly laughed at the commentary from Joe, a local deli shop owner with an interesting background on his own. Joe's lines are a menagerie of one- liners, quips, and racial banter that had the audience laughing. Despite some of the intense moments, the writers made the lines very tasteful, making sure to add a fun edge that hopefully won't insult the masses. Some of the other characters have their moments as well, timed equally well to maximize the laughs.
But you didn't come for laughs, you came for suspense that the night of legalized murder has provided in the past. You might think that a third installment has lost its edge, but surprisingly Election Year keeps the same on the seat moments as the last one. Like its predecessor, this movie takes our characters onto the streets, each forging their own path through the chaotic forest of crazy violence. I was pulled into the movie not by the mindless killing, but by the wonder of which member of the merry band would bite the dust. Part of what helped this was a semi-decent, albeit rushed, plot that had a little more backbone than mindless murder. Election Year's plot brings us further down the rabbit hole as to the point of the Purge and fills into those pot holes left at the end of the second movie. It's nothing special, but the character profiles were what kept my interest and fostered a bond with all the characters.
The BAD Pointless cursing/overacting Violence substituted for plot All the political issues it can drum up
No surprise, but a Rated R movie is going to have cursing, I get that I do. But as always the case, our writers get a little overzealous with dirtying the mouths of characters. Election Year unfortunately is not spared that fate as characters, mainly extras, fill their roles with overacted, dramatically-emphasized cursing that is more annoying than anything. I know it is to make you hate the character who will certainly die in the end, but they could have done it without such grandiose tactics. The silver lining of this, it is for limited run times so yay for that.
A second weakness for me, is substituting the violence for the plot. Now don't rip my head off, it is the Purge, a holiday that is only about violence and celebrating death, of course there will be violence. However, the Purge really needs to drop the glorified torture scenes and disturbing dances of craziness to provide more kick to their tale. That doesn't mean get rid of it all, after all there were plenty of jump at you moments where the violence was perfect, but Election Years tangents showing mask-wearing extras dancing or setting an elaborate trap that really doesn't work. This is another example of editing not eliminating all unnecessary scenes.
But perhaps the biggest weakness for me is the political issues this movie is sure to spark. Back in the day, you could make a movie like this and not start a revolution, but modern times have left our people a little more easily offended these days. The Purge's overdramatic antics, dialogue, and factions are certainly going to divide people and perhaps incite their own revolution on some level. All of the excessive violence, racial slurs, and political issues are over glorified, and I saw these effects take fruit in my theater with a few overzealous fans. So why did I bring this point up? Two reasons. The first is the political rants and corrupt speeches are cheesy, overdone, and eye rolling. The second is that if you are easily offended, no matter how much you like horror, you should not see this movie.
Despite being a third installment, The Purge Election Year certainly brings the same bite it always has. Yes, it is overdramatic and glorifies violence, and at times is certainly reflective of a mad man's mind. However, as far as horror movies go, it is surprisingly decent in terms of plot, action, and suspense that will entertain many of this genre. With interesting characters and a fast moving pace, you certainly won't be bored for the 105 minute run time. Necessary for a trip to the theater? Not really, but those who love the dive into the mad realm of murder, will certainly enjoy this tale.
Action/Horror/Sci-Fi: 7.0 Movie Overall: 6.0
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