It’s been two years since Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) decided not to go through with his revenge kill in The Purge: Anarchy. And in the latest installment in the franchise, The Purge: Election Year, he now works as head of security for presidential hopeful Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). Roan survived a Purge Night nightmare of her own, and is now ready to end the event for good. But after being betrayed by someone on her security staff, it’s up to Barnes and a group of random civilians to keep her safe through this year's Purge.
With an engaging setup, solid scares and brutal action, The Purge: Election Year takes Leo Barnes on an all new adventure that winds up to be a true political nightmare.
I really enjoyed how they continued Leo Barnes’ story in this film. After being a standout character in the second movie, the trajectory of his character made sense. Frank Grillo once again proves his action-star ability. He commands the audience and exudes believability.
We meet up with Barnes right in the middle of the presidential campaign and his sole purpose is to keep Senator Roan safe from all harm. Due to her protest of The Purge, the exemption is lifted on all government officials, making her vulnerable just as average civilians. Luckily Barnes knows it’s hard to trust anyone and keeps himself ready for any missteps in his safety plan.
After becoming stranded on the streets fearing for their survival, a group of rebels jump in to help keep Roan safe. Also exposing her to an even deeper look of Purge night and its effects on the lower class. These characters were definitely a crowd favorite. There’s Joe, a deli owner played by Mykelti Williamson (Bubba from Forrest Gump), his employee Marco and a close friend. Joe is definitely the comedic relief of the film and had the audience bursting with laughter over the crazy things he would say.
This movie plays as more of an action/political thriller than a horror movie. There are still plenty of jumps and gruesome scenes but the root of the film is the social injustice of The Purge, and even things we face now. It’s not so much torture/haunted house as the first film and more of a frightening take on how society could evolve. The film examines how the government takes advantage, how insurance companies can abuse the system, and how those in the lower classes become effected more. It’s not too politically motivated that you’ll become distracted, but you can definitely see how the storytelling in the film mirrors our real world in some way.
As far as this being the last of the series, I have a feeling they could squeeze one more out. But I won’t give away anymore.
The Purge: Election Year hits theaters on July 1. Do you plan on seeing the movie? Let me know in the comments below.