Eighteen years after being the sole survivor of a purge that killed her entire family, Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is running for president on a platform based around ending the yearly Purge. Her opponent, Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor) is backed by the NFFA, The New Founding Fathers of America, a group of wealthy and influential people who love the Purge because it weeds out the poor and lines their pockets with more money.
In order to get Senator Roan out of their way, the NFFA puts a new rule into effect for this years purge that makes it so that no one is exempt, whereas, in past years, certain members of the government, Roan included, would have been off limits. Senator Roan, knowing that hiding away in a bunker would lose her votes, decides that she will stay at home like the rest of America, a decision that would put her into an extreme amount of danger.
Two years after deciding not to kill the man responsible for the death of his son, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is now the head of Senator Roan’s security team. When they are betrayed by some of the team hired to protect the senator during the Purge, Leo is the only one who can be trusted to keep her alive.
Meanwhile, Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson) and his employee, Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) choose to protect his deli from looters when Joe’s purge insurance is increased outside of his realistic budget. Their friend Laney (Betty Gabriel) works for the underground fighting against the Purge and helping to save those injured and left for dead outside. When Senator Roan is on the run with Leo from the men trying to kill her, Joe, Marcos, and Laney save them from a group of thugs and become part of the group aiming to help her survive the night so she can win the presidency and help end the Purge once and for all.
The Purge: Election Year is, hands down, my favorite in the series thus far. The plot was very clean, the characters were likeable, and there was the perfect ratio of comedy to blood for the film to run smoothly and keep the audience entertained. The film had a few jump scare moments but, overall, I felt more of the intense uncertainty that I want to have while watching a film like Election Year. You go in pretty sure that Leo can keep the senator alive but, you know very well that the film is called The Purge, and, should the annual Purge end, there would be no purpose for more films. That means that Roan could very well die in the end.
The decision to bring Leo back was a smart one. He was easily the best character in Anarchy and a great choice to be the man responsible for keeping the senator safe. From Anarchy we learn that Leo is fast, strong, resourceful and more than qualified to protect the senator. Honestly, he is the only character in the entire series that could have taken on that role and been believable. I applaud the decision to bring back such a great character.
Elizabeth Mitchell is a rare likable government official. How often do we actually like a presidential candidate? You want her to live because you can tell that she genuinely is a good person, fighting for the good of the country. Besides, knowing that Leo is a good person and certainly wouldn’t back a candidate with a hidden agenda, we like her even more. Her likability also helps gather together the group of people determined to help her survive the night. I think that, had any of those people gotten a whiff of any dishonesty in the senators character, they wouldn’t have been so willing to die for her cause.
Mykelti Williamson, whom you may best know as Bubba from Forrest Gump, is Joe, the owner of the deli. To my disappointment, no mention of shrimp was made-a real missed opportunity if you ask me. All he wants to do is keep his deli, his livelihood, safe from the criminals set out to destroy everything in their path. Though he plays a protector of sorts of the neighborhood and a mentor to those less fortunate, we do find that he has a bit of a colorful past that ends up helping the group out in the end.
Dante (Edwin Hodge) returns once again as the leader of the underground group fighting the Purge. You may remember him as the man The Sandin family rescues in the first film. He serves a role in helping to save the senator from the group of men looking to kill her. Bringing him back, full circle, was, once again, a great idea. You completely understand his need to end the Purge and can get behind everything he does to try and make that happen.
The NFFA is a lot like watching the government today, worried more about making money for themselves than about those in need. The Minister, Owens, running against Roan is a great parallel to Trump, running on a platform to “Keep America Great.” Sound familiar? The Owen supporters are the gun happy people more than happy to kill the poor and the minorities. Meanwhile, Roan has the personality of Sanders while holding the gender of Clinton. While I think these things may pass a lot of viewers by, they did not go unnoticed by me.
Overall, I loved the movie and have literally nothing bad to say about it. I left the theater very satisfied with everything that unfolded and as the Purge films just seem to get better and better, I cannot wait for the fourth installment.
Spend the money. Experience The Purge: Election Year in the theater while you can.