REVIEW: Third ‘Purge’ Uses The Same Formula As The Second Film, But Doesn’t Deliver Same Results

If you enjoyed “The Purge: Anarchy” from 2014, you may not need to see “The Purge: Election Year,” since they are so similar.

Returning from the 2014 feature is former police sergeant Leo, played by Frank Grillo. After the events of the second film where he was involved with helping a group of individuals survive the Purge, Leo is now the lead security official for U.S. Sen. Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell).

Roan is a presidential candidate and is running on a platform of ending the Purge and moving the country in a different direction, making her a target for those in favor of the newest American holiday. For this reason, Roan and Leo are forced to go on the run on Purge night after an assassination attempt and they have few people to trust. However, they do get some help from others trying to survive the night.

This series has been like a roller coaster. I hated the first film and yet I found the second to be a fun, schlocky time at the theater. While this third installment leans toward the latter, though, it feels too much like a rehash of the 2014 picture.

While there are the obvious changes, featuring the story of a politician who wants to eliminate the Purge being the main example, the second and third films are basically the same at their core. Both films follow a ragtag group of people trying to survive the Purge with limited resources and not many people to trust.

The repetitive nature of this film in relation to its 2014 counterpart isn’t helped by the fact that the filmmakers seemed to bite off more than they could chew in regards to the premise. The premise of “The Purge” franchise has always been absurd, but the film explores the politics, elections and rituals to a point where it feels like the whole thing jumps the shark.

For example, it’s understandable that the whole point of the annual Purge is really to eliminate the homeless population. However, there’s a scene in the third act at a church that makes the whole idea seem more ridiculous.

The film doesn’t have many strengths in its performances, either. The supporting cast are more or less archetypes and each of them have some awful dialogue to deliver.

Fortunately, the movie does feature Grillo again and he is the perfect gritty action star for this role. Just as he was in the second movie, Grillo is the best part here, with his performance as the tough as nails officer being a good contrast to the psychos on the streets.

Along with Grillo’s performance, “Election Year” is at least entertaining to watch. It’s fast paced, has some creepy moments and a couple wild action sequences that make it worth checking out, but watching it on cable is more advised than seeing it on the big screen.

This third installment is fun and that has value, but it’s a retread of the second picture and isn’t nearly as strong. High 2 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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