For those who have yet to experience the (non-existent) delights and pleasures of The Purge horror franchise, here is the concept - in an America apparently suffocating from crime and overpopulation, the U.S. government implements a new policy wherein citizens have a 12-hour period annually in which all criminal activity, murder included, is legal. This will give the populace the opportunity to both "purge" themselves of their anger, hatred and hunger for violence and cleanse the citizenry of unwanted presences, namely political enemies and low-income folks.
The first Purge flick was a rather generic and boring home invasion yarn, in the mold of Panic Room and Funny Games. It was also headlined by a sleepwalking Ethan Hawke, seemingly only on-set to pick up a paycheck. The second, The Purge: Anarchy, wasn't exactly great cinema, even by modern day horror standards, but at least sported an intriguing, gritty Escape from New York-like atmosphere, and had a strong leading man in Frank Grillo.
Grillo, who very much brings to mind a late-'80s-era Stallone, is back for the series' third entry, The Purge: Election Year, and while there is some guilty pleasure entertainment to be found here, the film by and large feels like a carbon copy of the first sequel. There's nothing new or exciting to be seen here.
Grillo is head of security to a U.S. Senator (Elizabeth Mitchell), who is the presidential nominee of the anti-Purge party. On the evening of the Purge, several members of the Senator's staff and security turn out to be pro-Purge traitors, sending Grillo and Mitchell on the run from her home, eventually joining forces with a local deli owner (a badass Mykelti Williamson) and some of his fellow anti-Purge colleagues.
All of the action and choreography here feels like microwaved leftovers from Anarchy. Much like Saw around the time of its third entry, this series seems to be woefully out of steam and ideas. If not for Grillo and Williamson, this picture could serve as the sort of torture pro-Purge citizens like to inflict on their prey.