Movie Review: The Purge: Election Year (2016)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2016 action/thriller starring Frank Grillo and Elizabeth Mitchell.

Synopsis: A presidential candidate, who has promised to bring an end to the annual day of violence known as "the purge," seems poised for an upset victory. However, prior to the election being held, she must first survive one more rules-free night of chaos. The only people standing in the way of armed mercenaries hired to kill her are her wounded body guard, a deli store owner and his friends.

Review

My wife and I decided to order a pizza from a recently-opened restaurant here in town and, when we did, we were pleased to learn our meal came with a free movie rental (it shares a space with the city's only movie store). We had not seen the movie "The Purge" before and I decided to rent that one. However, in my haste, I accidentally picked out this sequel.

Even though we have not seen the first movie yet, we decided to watch this one anyway and hope it still made enough sense to be watchable. When we did this, my expectations were somewhat lowered, both because of not seeing the original and the fact this was a sequel. However, after finally seeing it last night, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.

There were a couple things I liked about this movie. The first was the fact the movie didn't assume we saw the first film. While it didn't go through all the details of the first movie, it did manage to at least explain some of the basic concepts (including the arguments for having such an event) so we weren't completely lost. Not a lot of movies do that.

Another thing I liked about this movie was the almost non-stop action. There was a little bit of build-up. But, it was limited to introducing us to the main characters and the basic plot points, such as a deli owner (Williamson) looking to protect his life's work from looters and a presidential candidate (Mitchell) who wants to put an end to the annual event but must first survive long enough to win the election.

Probably my only real complaint about this movie (and, I don't know if this is the case with the first one) is the way it limits the events of the purge to just the main characters' perspective. There were a few interesting fight scenes, I especially loved the one involving men fighting using medieval weapons, but the movie never fully gives a picture of just how much chaos there is.

This is especially true when the main characters are able to drive or walk down the street for several minutes or more at a time without running into another living person. While I can see why the writers chose to keep the movie focused and I can't really fault them for doing that. It would have been nice to see some news footage or something similar during some of the slower scenes.

The Purge: Election Year (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)

It has been two years since Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) stopped himself from a regrettable act of revenge on Purge Night - the 12 hours of lawlessness. This year, the annual ritua...

View on Amazon

Final Opinion

As I said, the movie exceeded my expectations and, after seeing it, I definitely have a renewed interest in seeing the first film the next time I have an opportunity to do so.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 11/28/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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