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THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR — Finally, the Liberal Agenda

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Article By: Heather Marie Bartels

imageThe Purge: Election Year (2016)

Written and directed by: James DeMonaco

Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Edwin Hodge and Joseph Julian Soria

Before I get into my thoughts on the third and latest installment of THE PURGE series, I want to be clear about something: I don’t think this movie was made for me.

This was as much of a surprise for me as it is for you. As a liberal, anti-gun, pro-social services, horror hound, I was poised to, at minimum, like THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR. I mean, the story-line of the film follows a group of ethnically diverse women and men (including series regulars Frank Grillo and Edwin Hodge) banding together on Purge Night to protect a female senator/ presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) so she can overthrow a violent, Christian, capitalist government regime. A lot of the heroes are poor, and some are even strong women with no romantic interests! I should’ve been eating this flick up like a plate of vegan nachos sprinkled with liberal gold.

Yet, sadly, as the audience clapped and cheered while another entitled teenager was plowed over by a volunteer-run ambulance, I wasn’t able to join in their righteous glee. Even when the film’s antagonists became the kind of villain I hate the most (rich, white, Christian, baby-boomers), I just could not care.

For one, the film was way too heavy-handed. For example, the group of mercenaries hired by the “New Founding Fathers” to kill Senator Roan not only had Nazi tattoos and confederate flag patches, but also had WHITE POWER sewn onto the back of their uniforms. You know, to make sure you really got the point. The script was a preposterous list of one-liners spoken by racial caricatures. I still can’t believe no one stopped DeMonaco from including the line from one of the heroes about “negroes flocking to us like fried chicken.”  Even the film’s supposed moral of non-violence is hypocritical after the preceding hour and a half spent delighting in good guys obliterating bad guys. Now, I could excuse the hypocrisy of this if the violence was at least novel and interesting. Seeing the 30th person shot in the chest is just a snoozefest for me, though.

Don’t be fooled, friends — this is not a horror film, but an action film through and through. You’ll notice Michael Bay in the opening credits’ list of producers, and his stamp is all over the movie. From the generic action film score, to the hyper-active editing, to the explosions, this was less of a movie and more like a series of predictable commercials.

In spite of all this, I can’t fully dislike THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR. If I’m going to see an audience clap for any poorly presented agenda, it may as well be mine.

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