Combustible Celluloid
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With: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, David Aaron Baker, Kyle Secor, Ethan Phillips, Raymond J. Barry, Kimberly Howe
Written by: James DeMonaco
Directed by: James DeMonaco
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing bloody violence and strong language
Running Time: 105
Date: 07/01/2016

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Death Vote

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

When The Purge movies started, they played vaguely with psychological ideas; in this third movie, the themes have turned political, but irritatingly simplistic. Poor filmmaking choices do not help.

Having survived The Purge: Anarchy, the tough guy known only as "sergeant" (Frank Grillo) is back. He is now working as head of security for Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), who is running for president with the promise that she will shut down the "purge" (i.e. an annual 12-hour period in which all crime is legal).

Of course, everything goes wrong, and the established "New Founding Fathers" come after her and the sergeant. A proud but struggling owner of a convenience store, Joe (Mykelti Williamson), and his two hard luck-case helpers Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) and Laney (Betty Gabriel), happen to be on hand and agree to help. But no one is prepared for what the powerful politicians have in mind for that night.

Writer/director James DeMonaco may have raised some hopes by featuring a female senator running for president, but while his Charlene Roan is idealistic, she has nothing more to say than "the purge is bad" and that it targets the lower class. Oddly, the film shows mainly these same people participating in the purge.

In essence, his so-called political satire and political statements are shallow and unsupported, and while somewhat appealing, aren't any different than any social media rant. On the technical side, DeMonaco doesn't seem to have learned anything after making two other films. The acting is overcooked, and his camerawork and editing is atrocious, resulting in a jerky, wretched-looking film that makes you want to bathe afterward.

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