The Purge franchise is becoming quite lucrative for Universal Studios. Produced on a relatively low budget ($10 mil for this third sequel), it tends to earn twice the amount the studio invested in. The franchise also has more room to expand its story than other franchises like Friday The 13th, Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street; mostly it relies on the concept instead of a super evil villain character. The first one was basically a home invasion thriller and didn’t really work for me. But for the sequel, the story was expanded to a citywide setting and became more of an action thriller. It also introduced a hero that we can cheer for and it worked quite well in my opinion.
The story takes place two years after the event of the last film. Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is back as the badass hero; he’s now the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). Roan is touted to be the next President of the United States and vows to put an end the Purge for good. Of course the powerful people in States who benefits greatly from the Purge don’t want that to happen so they’re planning to assassinate Roan on the Purge night. Just a few hours before the Purge was set to begin, we’re introduced to other characters including a storeowner named Joe (Mykelti Williamson), his royal employee Marcos (Joseph Soria) and friend Betty (Laney Rucker).
As the Purge begins, Roan’s house got ambushed and it’s up to Barnes to keep her safe since some of his men betrayed him. While on the run, Barnes and Roan ran into some purgers but fortunately Joe and Marcos came to their rescue. As the story progresses, it became the usual run of the mill chase action thriller. The group swore to protect Roan from would be assassins because they all want her to be the next president and they all want the Purge to end permanently. We see the usual shootouts and the eventual hero vs villain hand to hand combat for the climax.
The film was again written and directed by James DeMonaco, who I thought went a little overboard with the film’s obvious poke at our current political climate. Some of the messaging gets a little too preachy for my liking but when chase begins and the bullets start flying, he created a nice action thriller. Although I wish he’d stop moving the cameras so often during the quieter scenes. He’s one of these new directors who thinks that shaking the cameras during dialog scenes would make them interesting or something. Some of the action scenes he shot also needed better staging, but with limited budget, I don’t really think it’s his faults.
Performances by the actors were very good. Grillo, who’s an underrated actor, shines again here as the hero who’ll do anything to protect his boss. He doesn’t really have much to do except kick ass and shoots people. But whenever he’s on the screen, he has my attention. Mitchell was also good as maybe the hottest political figure I’ve ever seen. Her character didn’t reduce to just another damsel in distress, but of course the story dictates that she must be rescued by the heroes at some point. The most standout performance belongs to Mykelti Williamson, he’s the everyman character and he chewed every scenes he’s in and he looks to have a great time doing it.
This was another good sequel that’s on par with the second film. If you’re a fan of the franchise then I think you’ll enjoy this one, just don’t expect anything new or surprising.
Have you seen ‘The Purge: Election Year’? Well, what did you think?