Reel Reviews: Vote no for another Purge

The third in a series, Purge: Election Day needs to purged by the next election day.

  • Jul. 8, 2016 2:00 p.m.
Stay off the streets during the Purge: Election Year.

Stay off the streets during the Purge: Election Year.

When last we left Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) back in the year 2023, he was able to cope with the loss of his son by helping others survive, during the annual Purge.

It is now many years later, and Barnes is the head of security for senator and presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). Running on the promise of ending the purge, Roan will be lucky if she herself survives what could be the last night of lawlessness in America.

We say, “A purge is a purge, even on election day.”

TAYLOR: If you haven’t seen either The Purge or its sequel The Purge: Anarchy, the setup is simple: America is a violent place. The government has embraced this fact and decreed one night a year anybody can do anything they want. It seems they want to figure out inventive ways to kill each other, in costumes no less, now with a high degree of ritual.

Purging, one would assume, should make for an interesting sci-fi-action-horror film and it does, but I’m not sure that I can call The Purge: Election Year “good” and still walk into the theatre with my head held high.

HOWE: You mention they can do anything they want because of no emergency services, yet there is no looting of shops, breaking into banks or even stealing cars. It’s just all mindless killing. I accept there are some novel ways that this is done, but it is still mindless. It felt as if the writers/producers tried to give it an ‘80s feel – the music, dark shots, running around aimlessly – but to me they failed. If they had just added a cheesy comic feel, it might have scored higher.

TAYLOR: The film isn’t clever enough in its message to warrant any lasting importance and its predecessors had more style. If all we have here is a bullet flying free-for-all we aren’t going to care for very long. Luckily, Mikelti Williamson plays a shop keeper named Joe in this film and he’s very easy to like. So like him, it will help you appreciate the strengths of Election Year.

Take a moment as the credits are rolling, where some goof is ruining David Bowie and Trent Reznor’s I’m Afraid of American, to marvel at how many people died in this film without you caring, versus the ones for whom you did care for. Or don’t. Either way you’re not going to be missing much.

HOWE: Hopefully now the movie company will let this franchise die out.

If the paying public wants to watch such drivel as this, I guess a fourth installment is just around the corner, or, like The Purge: Election Year, we could just vote to see if a fourth film is needed.

– Taylor gives The Purge: Election Year 2 stupid characters out of 5.

– Howe gives it 2.5 armoured ambulances out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, runs every Friday in The Morning Star.