Somehow my favorite of the series but that still isn’t saying much.
The Purge: Election Year once again manages to just edge its predecessor and slowly rise to the top of the mountain in the Purge series. Except, it’s actually not really a mountain and more so a really small hill that lies in a predominantly flat landscape and is barely visible to the naked eye. But hey, at least it’s noticeable and it’s still better than the other films in the series, even if I still wouldn’t recommend you go see it.
What works better in this film is mainly the likeability factor of the story’s leads. I mean yes, the protagonist is a senator played by the creepy doctor from Lost (Elizabeth Mitchell) but she was thankfully much more enjoyable than what I usually know of her from that short-lived and yet somehow fantastic show (even if it did go quickly downhill). This is also thanks to having her play a senator who is running to oppose the whole inception of the Purge night. I’m immediately inclined to feel a bias towards her side because hey, I’m not a fan of people dying needlessly based on the apparently “scientific fact”, that we harbour inherent aggressive desires and need to release this so-called “beast”. Especially since I’ve mentioned how I don’t understand why the whole Purge night reduces so much level of crime, poverty and also boosts employment. It’s never really explained and the holes in that concept are issues that I haven’t seen resolved. Until now.
And I do want to also quickly bring up the supporting cast choice of Frank Grillo, who returns from the second film. Yes, he once again plays this Liam Neeson type character by going all security guard Taken mode on people but he was the best thing about the second film and I’m glad they gave him another shot. He’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone, but he’s still a cool enough character compared to Ethan Hawke’s in the original.
But what mainly drags this film down again, is the general predictability and the huge runtime once again. By this I mean it’s taking the same formats from before, where characters try to hide from the bad guys chasing them, get into trouble, fight it off and then repeat it all over. Thankfully the action scenes looked much better from a technical standpoint but it’s nothing amazing. Especially since the whole film is somehow the longest in the series coming in at a staggering hour and forty-nine minutes. What the hell is going on and why does each film in the series progressively seem to get longer? It’s completely unnecessary and adds nothing to the plot because, in fact, it detracts from the whole experience since it’s just the same shit every 15 minutes. Please let the fourth Purge film not be this long when it comes out later this year.
I’ll cut this review shorter compared to the others (in a seemingly reverse fashion compared to the increasing runtimes) and say that this is right now the best in the series. Having said that, I’m not recommending you expel your time watching it, I’d only suggest seeing it if you’ve committed to the series or enjoyed watching the second film. Other than that, this is basically just a rehash of any old action film. It’s like Taken mixed with a somewhat more original concept, but it’s nowhere near as smart as it should be, even if it’s trying to appear like that. Watch something else from our best of categories, because this series ultimately isn’t worth your time. Skip it.