"This is the scene where we all walk real tough ... And then one of us likely catches a bullet after we realize we're expendable now in the story!" Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson), Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) and Laney (Betty Gabriel) work to keep Senator Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell, in vest) safe in a scene from writer/director James DeMonaco's thriller THE PURGE: ELECTION YEARCredit: Michele K. Short © 2016 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Edwin Hodge, JJ Soria, Betty Gabriel, Kyle Secor, Brittany Mirabile, Juani Feliz, Christopher James Baker, Raymond J. Barry and Terry Serpico

WRITER(S): James Demonaco

DIRECTOR(S): James Demonaco


THE STORY AS BEST WE KNOW IT: Following up on the events of The Purge: Anarchy, The Purge: Election Year stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Senator Charlie Roan, a presidential hopeful running for president. And in a country run by the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA for short), Roan is running for a very specific purpose: To end The Purge, the annual 12 hours in March where any and all crime – including murder – are legal so that no one else will lose their family as she did over a decade ago. Now that she is running for office and gaining traction, the NFFA is determined to do something to stop her from ruining everything that they have worked so hard to build. But Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) – who you may remember from the previous film as the man who overcame his own urge to purge – is working her security detail and determined to keep the senator safe and sound as this year's Purge approaches. 

Meanwhile, Joe (Mykelti Williamson) is busy going about the business of running his deli with his Mexican immigrant-turned-American-citizen employee Marcos (JJ Soria). Coming to America 7 years ago, Marcos is a strong believer in the American dream and in Senator Roan's ability to overcome the odds and win ... If she can take Florida from her opponent, NFFA frontrunner Minister Owens (Kyle Secor). Then again, if Dante Bishop (Edwin Hodge) has his way, Senator Roan may not have to worry about the competition at all ...

But as the Purge approaches, both Joe's and Marcos' concerns are turning to not only protecting the business, but also Laney (Betty Gabriel), a Purge survivalist who works in a triage vehicle to rescue those left on the blood-soaked streets. And after the run-in Joe had earlier with two wild teens (Brittany Mirabile and Juani Feliz), this year's Purge might hit closer to home for he and Marcos than ever before. Then again, since this year's purge will be the first in its 25 year history that will not protect anyone INCLUDING government officials like Roan, one thing is for certain once the sirens go off ...

This is not a test.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? People who enjoyed the first two Purge films; Frank Grillo fans; Mykelti Williamson fans; people who like action horror where humor, violence and storytelling come together in entertaining fashion; anyone who feels like this movie is more relevant to today's American political/social landscape than we'd like it to be.

WHO WILL HATE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? People who hated the first two Purge films; people who hate over-the-top acting and/or find the scenario too ludicrous to have any sense of relevance; anyone who feels like this movie is more relevant to today's American political/social landscape than we'd like it to be.

SO IS IT GOOD, GREAT, JUST ALL RIGHT OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? The third (and possibly last?) installment of the series, The Purge: Election Year does all the things it needs to do: Deliver a 90-minute film that, while never exploring the premise behind it as much as it really could, does a solid job of delivering the action horror it promises.

The things that make Election Year work well are very basic; the key is that they are done well. Whereas Grillo is committed to all of his bad assery in protecting his boss, he does so with nothing but a very serious tone and over-the-top, classic 1990s WWE-style machismo Gerard Butler's character exuded in the awful London is Falling. Instead, Grillo is all about his job, no more, no less and it works very well. Likewise, Mitchell is extremely dedicated to her role as Roan, making you feel her motivations, game plan and emotional connection to her cause in great detail. Her philosophical waxing is poetic as it is necessary to give the film a plausibility that works well and plays off Grillo's gruff exterior quite well. 

Of course, this helps set up the Walking Dead-Michonne-like badassery of Gabriel's character, which balances the optimistic sensibility of Soria's. Whereas one serves to do what's right by force, the other looks to do what's right by believing in philosophical strategy and hope – a credit to writer-director James DeMonaco taking the time to craft a story with full checks and balances. Of course, the greatest credit should go to perennial great "Hey – that's that guy from ..." actor Mykelti Williamson, who steals the show at every turn with a great arsenal of humorous one-liners that makes him the character you'd want to party with the most. The five main cast members really share a great chemistry that flows together than most posse-in-an-dystopian-future settings, which is key in making you emotionally invested in their journey as opposed to just wanting to see what happens because it's an interesting premise.

Yes, there are some potential flaws one could point to as detracting from the overall quality of the film ... But given just how hardcore Secor, Mirabil, Feliz and the rest of the film's villains go for it, the coarse language and brutal violence are shown to fit into a much larger picture about the idea of how America has become an idyllic paradise ... For those who can afford it and the Purge masks a much deeper, darker and deadlier side of us as Americans/people that one could argue is manifesting itself in today's headlines. Whereas Election Year never probes into asking that deep a question in and of itself, it does provide a starting block that may make your mind jump into it, especially given all of the current politic rhetoric occurring currently ...

The best film in the film series' outings, The Purge: Election Year is one of those films that doesn't pretend to be deeper than it is but is definitely smarter than you'll give it credit for; question is, are we smarter than the film to prevent an actual Purge from happening? Well, that remains to be seen, but the movie – if you're into watching people survive a terrible situation while the film taps into your own primal fear type of thing – is one worth seeing. Just leave the little kids at home first.



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  3. The First Purge hardly has a single redeeming quality, aside from maybe a visual choice of giving glowing contact lenses to the people who choose to purge. That element was cool visually, but that had no effect on the overall movie. When your film fails to have your audience care about who lives and who dies, there's something seriously wrong. I truly felt that one of the most unlikeable characters was one that you're meant to be rooting for, which gave me a very uncomfortable viewing experience. In the end, this movie fails on more levels than its predecessors, so even if you're a slight fan of the franchise, I still don't know if this one warrants a recommendation. The First Purge is garbage entertainment. > The First Purge 2018
    Now, this franchise has gone n for far too long and we have arrived at a prequel in The First Purge. The idea of going back to the very first purge has potential, but this film lives up to nothing of the sort. Anything good to speak of this franchise has now been killed in my eyes. This is easily the worst film in the franchise and one of the worst films I've seen in 2018, period.
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