The Purge: Election Year

2016 sequel

Rating: 11/20

Plot: Another Purge night. A senator/presidential nominee tries to survive the night along with a bunch of other people.

Previews for this are what made me want to dive into this franchise in the first place. Politics in 2016 made last year the perfect year for this movie to come out. There are subtle echos to Trump and some of his battle cries and foreshadowings of the sorts of injustice and inhumanity that has emerged during the first couple months of his administration.

I like this movie when the satire is subtle. Like the second movie, this one broadens out further. The first was about a family, the second was about a community, and this third one is more about the state of the country and even has some international flavor. Some of the imagery is great, darkly playing with patriotic motifs. Unfortunately, a lot of this is a little too heavy handed, really slamming ideas about poverty and race relations. It's not that it's impertinent, but there's just something a little too obvious or predictable about the whole thing, like writer/director James DeMonaco skimmed an Idiot's Guide to Race Relations in America book while writing key scenes. Those little subtle visual stabs are effective at painting a horrifyingly ironic portrait of America, but DeMonaco tries to do a little too much with the political stuff here.

The story's characters this time around didn't really grab me either. None of them are particularly well written, and while that's probably fine for a movie like this, it definitely didn't help keep me interested. There's a returning character from the second movie, the guy played by Frank Grillo, and with his new role, you sort of have to suspend your disbelief right off the bat. My favorite character is a girl who is obsessed with getting a candy bar. "I'm gonna get that candy bar!" she keeps saying, and after a while, I was really rooting for her to get a fucking candy bar even though I think she was supposed to be a villain.

This isn't so bad that I would stay away from a fourth Purge movie, especially since I apparently have nothing better to do with my time than watch movies and write about them. It does, however, diminish my hopes that this franchise would have a Fast and the Furious type trajectory and build to some sort of masterpiece.

Have any of those really bad parody movies taken on this franchise yet? It seems like an easy target.

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