• Purge, The: Election Year



    Released By: Universal
    Released On: October 4, 2016
    Director: James DeMonaco
    Cast:Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson
    Year: 2016
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    The Movie:

    It's eighteen years after the first night of The Purge; a 12-hour free-for-all in which irate citizens and bloodthirsty criminals are legally permitted to carry out an assortment of crimes including murder, with no fear of repercussion. Originally legislated by the governing body of the New Founding Fathers Of America, the Purge was marketed as a way to lower crime statistics, but in this election year, is drawing fire for being used to eliminate the homeless and other undesirables. And while highly-regarded citizens such as Minister Owens tout the night of cleansing as being on par with religious awakening, civil rights activists like Dante Bishop (Edwin Hodge) have declared war on the upper-crust who stand behind it. Despite the affection that this annual murder spree has garnered from the public, a change is on the horizon...Presidential hopeful Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), who lost her family during Purge night a number of years earlier, has sworn to take executive action and declare the Purge unconstitutional.

    This doesn't sit well with the old, rich, White men of the New Founding Fathers, and they turn Dante Bishop's claim that the Purge is all about class on its ear by removing a previous rule; that government officials are not legal prey during the Purge. On one hand, it looks like they're finally making the Purge equitable, but it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to realize that they're using this new rule to paint a giant bloody bullseye on Senator Roan's back. Lucky for the Senator, she has secret service/bodyguard extraordinaire Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) in charge of her detail, who has rallied his men to keep Charlie safe and secure in her own home while chaos reigns outside. But unfortunately for Leo and Charlie, the New Founding Fathers have a vast army of resources on hand, including a literal vast army of swastika patch-wearing white supremacists with really fake-looking tattoos, and enough cash to work their way to the inside of Leo's team, and the bodyguard is forced to take his charge on the road to escape death.

    It's going to be a tough battle with the weight of the New Founding Fathers of America on their tails, but Leo and Roan find unlikely accomplices in a deli store owner named Joe (Mykelti Williamson), his able-bodied and armed friend Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria), and a former gang member turned Purge night Samaritan named Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel). And while the neo-nazi army after them poses a very real threat, Leo and his friends will also have to battle the Purge night regulars; blood-thirsty Americans blowing off steam by killing others in a creative fashion, and "Murder Tourists"...costumed psychos from abroad who make the annual trip stateside to take part in the homicidal fun that their own governments forbid. The clock is ticking....slowly....as Roan and co. fight to survive the night and emerge victorious on Election Day.

    Anyone familiar with The Purge series of films is going to know what to expect here; there is no deviation from the norm. For those not familiar? They can expect creepy masks, creative kills, rampant gunfire, rivers of blood, and political commentary about as subtle as a brick in the face. Class warfare, White guys on top, insurance companies screwing over the little guy are par for the course in Election Year, with newcomer religious fanaticism taking centre stage this time around. DeMonaco doesn't jump around much outside of the box with this series, which is good news for fans; you can expect more of the same, in the same setting, with some familiar faces dropping in, brought to you with a jarring soundtrack and slow-motion overkill.

    With familiarity and formulaic out of the way, how does this entry stack up with previous entries? Well, it's not bad. DeMonaco's familiar writing style extends to his vision behind the camera, which means fast-paced cutting (when he's not lingering in slow-mo mode) and over-the-top visuals. While some of the performances in this chapter are decent, there are a few that rival the earlier films for being overly annoying and ridiculous, but the safe bet with these films is that the annoying will probably end up gruesomely murdered. Election Year still manages to feel like it overstays its welcome and could stand to lose about twenty minutes; but when the cast of the film acknowledge the external satire in the first 10 minutes of the film, it's possible that the joke is already over.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Universal brings The Purge: Election Year to Blu-ray (and DVD! and Digital Hi-Def Download!) in a 2.40:1 AVC-encoded transfer that looks great. Crisp lines, a whole wack of detail, and deep blacks with no artifacting...the kind of transfer we've come to expect from the format in this modern world. Colour dynamics are strong, this is a transfer that will show off your big-screen display.

    And speaking of which, the main audio track is an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track (Spanish and French DTS Digital Surround tracks are also available, as is a Descriptive Video Service) that will heavily rock your system like a hurricane, with frequent heavy use of bass and surround action that will shock and awe. Dynamic range on the audio track is also stellar, and the dialogue is clear and front and center throughout, balanced nicely with the rest of the soundtrack. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are also included.

    First up in the Bonus Features on the disc are seven Deleted Scenes (8:05) which seem to have little effect on the film in their absence.

    Inside The Purge (5:31) is a short featurette with Writer/Director James DeMonaco and various case members talking about The Purge series and how it was to end. The group go on to describe the meanings in the writing...like class warfare, no kidding...and generally state the obvious in and among some on-set footage.

    A Character Spotlight : Leo (3:34) takes a look at the hero of the film, with the cast and crew talking about his motivation for doing what he does. Actor Frank Grillo also talks about the excitement of doing his own stunts.

    The Final Word:

    The weakest of the Purge series of films, Election Year still manages to bring the uncompromising violence and in-your-face politics of the previous entries, guaranteeing that fans will walk away with warm feelings in their tummies.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!