Director: James DeMonaco
Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson
Release Date: October 4, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
It has been two years since Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) stopped himself from a regrettable act of revenge on Purge Night – the 12 hours of lawlessness. This year, the annual ritual comes at the eve of a heated presidential election with the nation deeply divided between those who are pro- and anti-Purge. As head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), Leo’s mission is to protect her during her controversial and contested run for president. But when a betrayal forces them onto the streets of Washington, D.C. on the one night when no help is available, they must stay alive or both be sacrificed for their sins against the state.
The third chapter in the franchise ‘The Purge: Election Year’ picks up a couple years after the conclusion of the second film where we rejoin Leo Barnes (Grillo), now working as security for Senator Charlie Roan (Mitchell) who intends to eradicate the purge once and for all if elected into office; a goal Leo wholeheartedly agrees with. Meanwhile the powerful individuals who run the country and benefit so immensely from the purge refuse to go down without a fight and Senator Roan and Leo soon find themselves betrayed and alone, forced into the streets on purge night. Now Leo must keep the Senator alive no matter the cost while everyone from random lunatics to those running the show try to take them down.
Once again written and directed by James DeMonaco who also penned and directed the first two entries in the series, DeMonaco does a fantastic job at the helm of the franchise’s third entry ‘The Purge: Election Year’ having truly captured the perfect tone for the series and only continuing to impress with each subsequent entry. The film also owes a share of the credit to the collection of folks who comprise the cast that includes many newcomers and a couple returning characters this time around including Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy), Elizabeth Mitchell (TV’s Lost), Mykelti Williamson (TV’s Justified), Joseph Julian Soria (TV’s Army Wives), Edwin Hodge (The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy) and more, nearly all of which deliver capable performances at the very least in each of their respective roles.
‘The Purge: Election Year’ is a thrilling, brutal and often terrifying third entry in the franchise that provides everything the fans may want, while also contributing a solid story and relatable characters therefore allowing for some real heart and humanity to rise above all of the carnage which makes for a powerful, gratifying and at times frighteningly realistic film that should leave you on the edge of your seat for the majority of its runtime. The third entry also delves more deeply into the world and operations of those pulling the strings and the struggle that so many others face as a result, and the reality that they aren’t alone in their opinion of this night which can bring as much bad as good, possibly more depending on the individual. James DeMonaco once again serves as writer and director as he has on every ‘Purge’ film yet and does a fantastic job at the helm yet again delivering what is quite likely the best entry to date. Anyone who enjoyed the previous entries in the series (particularly the second) definitely won’t want to miss out on ‘The Purge: Election Year’, it’s a smart, grisly and sensational third entry that should easily please the fans.
Overall, ‘The Purge: Election Year’ is a fantastic addition to the franchise and quite possibly the best entry yet. It delivers all of the carnage fueled and blood soaked insanity fans of the franchise have come to expect, while still managing to contribute plenty of heart and realism amidst the mayhem. Once again written and directed by James DeMonaco who only seems to bring more unique insanity and emotion to his world each time around. I can’t recommend ‘The Purge: Election Year’ highly enough to fellow fans of the franchise, and I would also urge any genre fans who might have missed out on the films to give them a whirl, chances are you won’t be disappointed, especially with this and the previous entry.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Purge: Election Year’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and colorful presentation that suffers no noticeable faults to speak of throughout. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and fast moving sequences that are quite prominent within the film and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy fans of the franchise.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, discrete and often quite aggressive audio presentation from start to finish. Regularly utilizing all five available channels in order to send everything from bullets whipping past to random eerie noises and taunts making their way throughout the various speakers, along with plenty more, and never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that perfectly complements the film and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Purge: Election Year’ doesn’t include a great deal in the way of supplemental material, although it does include a few enjoyable extras. Included on the release are a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 8 minutes in length altogether), in addition to a couple brief Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Inside The Purge’ (running approximately 6 minutes), and ‘Character Spotlight: Leo’ (approximately 4 minutes).