Movie: The Purge: Election Year
My Rating: 4 stars
As cheesy and campy as they are, I kinda love these movies. They’re wild and they aren’t afraid to get completely outrageous. They remind me of the Fast & Furious films in that way. They get progressively more ridiculous as the franchise goes on and they’re completely unapologetic. The first Purge film, while exploring a pretty extreme scenario, remains relatively serious in tone. The second one raises the stakes by giving us crazier action and scarier villains. And, this third installment follows the formula by going completely bananas. The filmmakers have embraced the campiness and they go all-in with the crazy antics.
In the fictional dystopia where this story is set, the government is trying to get a handle on crime by allowing the population to do anything one night per year. There are no rules at all—murder, mayhem, gross destruction of property—it’s all allowed. But, the worst part of the Purge policy is that it brings all of the lunatics out of the woodwork to play. You’ve got your spoiled teens who want to do something reckless but don’t understand the permanence of death. There are the crazy, foreign, “murder tourists” who want the fun of destroying things but who don’t want to have it affect their normal lives in their home countries. Then there are the real maniacs who really just want to get out there and shoot up the town. These types want to create some real pandemonium and they don’t care how much infrastructure they have to smash to do it. And, that’s one thing that always bothered me about this series—the property damage. For some reason, I have more of a problem with all the property damage than I do with the murders. I guess I justify that stance by saying that anyone roaming the streets looking to kill has essentially consented to any harm that may come their way in turn. But, smashing buildings, and setting cars alight affects everyone.
Of course, not everyone likes the Purge. And, there is one brave politician, Senator Charlie Roan, who is gutsy enough to stand up and run for president on the platform of doing away with the barbaric practice. But, the rich, white guys that are currently running this country can’t stand for that. A woman!?! Questioning their natural authority?!? The outrage! And, that brings us to the fourth type of Purge participant—the paid mercenaries who are hired to take out one’s rivals while you sit safely at home. And, the mercenaries the old men hire to take care of this inconvenient woman are pretty terrifying—real white supremacist types. And, the majority of this story follows our idealistic Senator as she traverses the city (with her sexy bodyguard), trying to evade these assassins.
I really enjoyed this movie. It’s garbage, of course—lots of shock value murders, fear-mongering, and heavy-handed moralizing. The heroes are obnoxiously upstanding, and the villains are comically evil. But the movie really is a good time if you’re in the mood for some over-the-top anarchy in the streets. Plus, there’s something very satisfying about seeing the bad guys really getting what they deserve. If you’re into this kind of thing, I recommend it.