The Purge: Election Year

2 Stars

In some ways, The Purge: Election Year is an uncannily timely entry in this burgeoning film series. As with the previous films, Election Year is set in an alternate universe where American crime is permitted for one 12-hour period every year. Election Year picks up on a thread from the previous film – that the poor are overwhelmingly victimized by this annual night of terror – and adds in a political twist: with an insurgent candidate for president, Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), gaining popularity with the public by running on an anti-Purge campaign, the New Founding Fathers suspend the rule that exempts politicians from being targeted on Purge Night. Thanks to her head Secret Service agent, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), though, she’s able to escape an assassination attempt – but has to survive on the streets, outside of her safe house. Election Year introduces some other potent ideas, including Purge tourists – a.k.a. visitors from other countries coming over to take part in the Purge activities – and solidifies the ties that make the new government a religion for the rich and powerful. But the dialogue is beyond ridiculous, as are some of the scenarios, and Mitchell is surprisingly incapable of delivering a performance that makes her believable as a politician garnering large swaths of attention. What has the potential to be the strongest film in the series yet is undermined by some of its own decisions.

The Purge: Election Year • Rating: R (for disturbing bloody violence and strong language) • Runtime: 105 minutes • Genre: Horror • Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Edwin Hodge, Betty Gabriel, Joseph Julian Soria, Kyle Secor, Raymond J. Barry • Director: James DeMonaco • Writer: James DeMonaco • Distributor: Universal
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