‘The Purge: Election Year’ is the third instalment in the Purge franchise that up until this point has been very inventive and surprisingly enjoyable. The first film was a much more isolated film taking place in a single house and had a very horror/thriller vibe to it. ‘Anarchy’ then took the franchise to the streets introducing Frank Grillo and turning the franchise into more of an action/thriller with some horror elements. Now ‘Election Year’ follows the same trend of exploring Grillo’s character out in the streets, and although it offers a look into some unseen aspects of the purge there isn’t a whole lot new here from ints predecessor. In the film Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is determined to put an end to the annual holiday that legalises murder, and as expected this doesn’t go down well with her opponents and she becomes a target, leaving Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) tasked with her protection. As the film explores the streets you see a lot of violence, there are some suspenseful moments, and jolts of action injected here and there some of which is pretty damn cheesy. But despite everything this film brings to the table, nothing makes it seem like something that needed to happen.
The plot in this film was definitely not one of the strong points. It plays out pretty much how you would expect it to play out and it’s one of those films where you don’t quite know what is going to happen in the long run, but you manage to figure it out a minute or two before it happens, leaving very little room for surprises in the film. The film stays fairly focused on one main point for most of its length but later on in the film as more characters get involved you start moving around a lot more and there are a few minor things going on that shift the focus around a little too much. It wasn’t confusing, it was just that it got very busy as the film went on making it difficult to keep focus on the main issue at hand. What i do respect the filmmakers for is that they didn’t make the characters in the film very stupid making dumb decisions. It is a common thing in many of these films where characters in the film will ‘break character’ and do something stupid so the film then has room to move on quickly or do something shocking. It adds to the realism of the characters and the situation they are in…. the small things do add up.
The characters overall were quite likeable, and the performances behind the characters were all fine. They do focus somewhat on a few character relationships and it goes into some of the characters quite a bit in order to add another layer to the storytelling. Some of that stuff was quite interesting whilst some of it you just felt was in the film to extend that run-time. Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell and Mykelti Williamson were the standout characters and made a lot of the scenes more interesting than they probably should have been. But the film does this weird thing where it straddles the line between being very serious and also very cheesy, and it constantly goes back and forth between the two in a way that didn’t quite work. The second film did some of that but not to the level that this film tries to explore it. It was odd at times because it sometimes felt like we had serious characters in a not so serious world and sometimes it was the opposite.. that did hold the film back.
So in the end i guess it is safe to say that if you did not enjoy The Purge: Anarchy you will definitely not get much out of this film. But if you are looking for an average action thriller starring Frank Grillo set in the world of The Purge then this will give you that. I think this is most definitely the end of the Purge franchise as i feel that there really is nowhere to go from here… It has been a fun ride.