Oh what a glorious 4th of July this has been! I have spent most of 2016 hating myself for putting up with some of the worst trash that I have seen in years. When my worst list is over flowing and my best list includes two movies, that is saying how much crap I saw compared to quality. BUT! This movie has made up for every last second of it! This was one of the best movie experiences I have had in a long time! As a fan of movies and a political scientist, a movie like The Purge: Election Year is right up my alley. Not only is this a movie that gives you all the wonderment and joy of Frank Grillo shitting on the action/horror movie tropes that we hate and the non stop action that the series promises us, but it also tackles issues of institutional racism in ways that the new season of Orange is the New Black failed horrendously (not a fan of that one). This movie, may very well be the best of 2016.
The Purge: Election Year is a direct sequel to the second movie. Frank Grillo’s character (yeah he has a name, but let’s face it… He is Frank motherfucking Grillo) has become the head of security for a surging Senator Roan who is running for President claiming to put an end to the Purge once and for all. The New Founding Fathers obviously hate this idea and wonder if, and I quote, “The cunt has been taken care of.”
Well, not having ever heard of the concept of an assassination attempt, the New Founding Fathers decree that no elected officials will be safe from the Purge this year, thus making them vulnerable as well. The idea is that they will attack Senator Roan, kill her, and thus ensuring that her competitor and NFFA backed candidate, Minister Edwidge Owens wins and continues the tradition. Also Edwidge Owens may very well be the whitest name in the history of this planet, but I digress. As shit does happen, the night gets fucky and Frank Grillo must save Senator Roan from an assassination squad of neo-Nazis.
Frank Grillo is the Action Star of this Generation
Frank motherfucking Grillo is the best fucking action star of this generation and the people who are fighting for second place in this race are about two and a half miles behind him. The man is an excellent hero! He has a down to earth sort of persona and personality that makes him instantly relatable and his character is built around the fact that he says “fuck it” to infuriating action movie tropes and just bypasses them.
One of my favorite parts in the movie is when Grillo notices a door off to the side that seems sketchy and he just says fuck it and opens the door. He doesn’t have time to deal with his betrayer friends, he has a bomb already in place for this bullshit. The guy doesn’t have time for bullshit and that is what I love about him. He isn’t going to waste his time playing nice or going along with the game, he has shit to do that night and you all are in the way of him accomplishing his task. So please, step aside and let Frank Grillo do what he does best, kick massive amounts of ass!
As Far as Filmmaking is Concerned, it Avoids Giving into Cliche
There are a few cliches they fall into and I will get into that, but one of my favorite parts of this movie is they skip over the infuriating parts. Things like the hero having to be this peak of morality, they can’t stoop down to “their level.” Nah, it is kill or be killed and they are going to kill when they have to. Granted, they do fall into this a little bit near the end, but it is in a way that makes sense so I can forgive it. *Spoilers* When Senator Roan begs the people not to kill her competitor, sure, they do say “we need to be better.” But the real reason is that you do not want to create a martyr for the New Founding Fathers to get behind.
I love the fact that the two teenagers who harass the shop owner are dealt with relatively quickly. They do not follow them throughout the movie harassing them like lesser movies. They deal with them so they can fry the bigger fish!
While this movie can fall into a few cliches, it does take a lot of the infuriating ones out back, and putting them out of their misery.
The Movie is One of the Best Political Commentaries of All Time
While the second movie touched on some hot button topics that effect us today, The Purge: Election Year turns up the political commentary to an eleven and it is exceptionally well done. Obviously those who suffer from something like the Purge are those of lower income and inner city families. African Americans and hispanic have to fight for their lives to survive while the gentry class white people lock themselves into their ivory towers where they send mercenaries out to gather these people for them to partake in the Purge without risking their lives.
This movie is the story of the haves and have nots of the world and how the Purge effects everyone. Those who are the have nots of the world are forced to defend themselves by any means necessary from the sociopaths tearing through the city. They are susceptible to insurance agencies raising the premiums on their “Purge Insurance” and are generally screwed over while Edwidge Owen sits in his church comfortably killing drug addicts.
The Purge is one of these movies that can bring up movements like Black Lives Matter and social inequality in a way that others can’t. They give a very realistic “what if” scenario and how it will play out if that were the case. Is everyone a purger? No, most of them lock themselves in their home. Will people purge? Yes, yes they will. Who is going to suffer? Is it going to be the rich person on the hill or the white family in suburbia? No it is more than likely going to be those in the inner city and those too poor to purchase stuff necessary to protect themselves during the purge. Things that happen in real life, still have a certain “gray area” that offers naysayers an out to say “Well not this isn’t what is happening, this is what’s happening.” The Purge makes everything black and white (not to coin a phrase). Here are the people that will suffer from the purge and here are those who will, most likely, be safe. It is an excellent message and it is wrapped up in an amazing non-stop action bow!
It Falls A Little Bit to Cliche
There are a few moments in the movie where things get a little “cliched” or things happen because the plot needs them to happen. Spoilers ahead because I guess I have to say that now (SIGH).
Once we reach the end of the film. The Neo-Nazis who the New Founding Fathers hired to kidnap Senator Roan drop her off at the chapel. Afterwards, they take off stating “Let’s find some place to wait this fucking night out.” So they fuck off. All things considered, these guys night is done. They don’t give a shit anymore as long as they get paid which they are and have. Well sure enough once we reach the end of the night, the Neo-Nazis attack the group after all is said and done in one last action sequence. Why? They got paid, they don’t give a shit anymore what happens. They have no stake in these white people purging other than getting paid. I find it irritating that you would have to have that scene in there when they have no motivation other than… They are Nazis, I guess?… to keep fighting and dying for this cause you don’t care about.
There are a few more as well, more minor ones like the idiocy of villains and the omnipresence of some other villains. But a lot of them added up to a slight con in this movie book.
I mean it when I say that The Purge series ages like a fine wine. It went from a bland home invasion movie to a stellar action series starring Frank motherfucking Grillo! This movie is not as good as Mad Max: Fury Road but it is this year’s Fury Road as far as pulse pounding action movies are concerned. The movie is non stop action fun and if you want to watch an amazing movie I suggest you drop what you are doing and check it out as soon as possible.
Final Score: 4.5/5
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