REVIEW: THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

CAST

Frank Grillo (Captain America: Civil War)
Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)
Mykelti Williamson (Three Kings)
Joseph Julian Soria (Superfast!)
Betty Gabriel (Get Out)
Terry Serpico (Hannibal)
Raymond J. Barry (Alias)
Edwin Hodge (Red Dawn)
Kyle Secor (Veronica Mars)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)

The film opens in the year 2022, concurrent to the events of the first film. A masked purger taunts a young woman named Charlie Roan (Cristy Coco) and her family. He then tells them they are going to play one final Purge game, called “Mommy’s Choice.” When she refuses, the man moves slowly towards the family as they struggle. Eighteen years later, two days before the Purge, riots are breaking out all over Washington, D.C., claiming that the New Founding Fathers are using the Purge to help their economic agenda; likely thanks to the last film. This is having a great effect on the upcoming Presidential election. Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), now a Senator, is gaining ground over the NFFA’s candidate, Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor). The NFFA, headed by Caleb Warrens (Raymond J. Barry), view Roan as a threat to their rule and plan to use the upcoming Purge to eliminate her from play.Meanwhile, Roan and Owens attend a debate and, while Owens states how America’s crime rates are lowering, Roan gets a standing ovation after she declares the Purge only serves to eliminate the poor and benefit the rich and powerful, after which she then breaks security protocol, by stepping into the audience. At a convenience store, owner and proprietor Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson), assistant Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria), and their friend, EMT Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel), watch the coverage on television. While Joe and Laney believes that Roan may not have a chance, Marcos replies that she would win and make changes.
On March 20, the day before the Purge, the NFFA revokes the Purge rule that protects ranking 10 government officials, appearing to attempt to regain public favor, but is actually a front to kill Roan. That same day, Joe and Laney confront a teenage shoplifter named Kimmy (Brittany Mirabile) and her friend (Juani Feliz) both attempting to steal a candy bar. Later, an enraged Joe discovers that his Purge insurance rates have been raised beyond his affordability, prompting him to stake out and guard his store. Roan decides to wait out the Purge from her unsecured home in order to secure the popular vote of the common people. Her head of security, former police sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), initially disagrees with the idea but accepts her reasons. He then revamps security and has Roan’s house re-secured with new barricades and surrounded by secret service agents and SWAT snipers standing watch outside, with his partners Chief Couper (Ethan Phillips) and Eric Busmalis (Adam Cantor) as well as three more secret service agents partly supervising the event from indoors. Meanwhile, a group of South African tourists deplaning and claiming their baggage at Dulles Airport are interviewed by a news anchor wherein their response is to join the Purge. News of airports across America flooding with more tourists traveling to the United States to witness or join the Purge make the press dub them as “Murder Tourists”.
After Purge Night commences, Joe and Marcos repel an attack by the teenage shoplifters, injuring Kimmy. Laney and her partner Dawn (Liza Colón-Zayas) patrol the city in a heavily modified ambulance, rendering medical care to the wounded. Roan and Barnes are betrayed by Couper and Busmalis, who signal a Neo-Nazi paramilitary force led by Earl Danzinger (Terry Serpico) and secretly let them into the household, having killed all the secret service agents and SWAT snipers. As the troops assassinate the three remaining secret service agents, Barnes manages to get Roan to safety, but is wounded in the process. He detonates a bomb in the house, killing Couper, Busmalis, and a few troops. Navigating through the hostile streets of Washington D.C. to seek safer shelter, Roan and Barnes are ambushed and taken captive by a group of Russian Murder Tourists. While the group taunts them, Marcos spots the commotion, prompting him and Joe to leave the store’s roof and rescue the duo. They shoot the group dead and take Barnes and Roan to Joe’s store. Roan converses with the two while Marcos tries to tend to Barnes’ wound. As Barnes and Joe get into a light argument, Marcos then witnesses the teenage shoplifters returning in two groups, causing Joe to call Laney and Dawn for backup, who can’t respond immediately as they are treating a teenage boy named Rondo (Jared Kemp). As Barnes, Roan, Joe and Marcos prepare to defend themselves, Laney and Dawn arrive and run over Kimmy and her friend with their ambulance. Laney then guns down the other shoplifters before finishing off a heavily wounded Kimmy with a point-blank headshot. The group then leave the store for a safer hideout.
With Barnes, Roan, Joe, Laney, Dawn, Rondo and Marcos safe in the ambulance, the group is ambushed by a helicopter piloted by Danzinger, who end up killing Rondo. The surviving six then seek refuge underneath a highway overpass wherein Barnes deduces they were found because the bullet in his chest is a tracker. After he extracts the bullet, the group is confronted by members of the Crips but when Joe gives the gang’s trademark whistle call (revealing that he was once their member), the Crips calm. The gang leader asks the group to tend to his wounded “boy” to which the group agrees. In return for the group’s actions, the Crips plant the bullet in another area to trick the paramilitary forces after telling the former to leave. When two of Danzinger’s ground team members find the bullet, the Crips emerge from hiding and eliminate them.
 Barnes, Roan, Joe, Laney, Dawn, and Marcos are led to a hideout beneath a hospital protected by anti-Purge rebels led by Dwayne Bishop (Edwin Hodge) where volunteer doctors and nurses administer to wounded Purge victims while other professionals supply food, water, and medicines. Joe, Marcos, and Laney decide to go back to the store, but spot several NFFA death squad trucks heading to the hideout. Meanwhile, Roan discovers the rebels are planning to assassinate Owens and tries to dissuade them, as she wants to win the election fairly. They are forced to flee as Dawn alerts the entire hideout of death squad forces arriving. Barnes and Roan survive the hostile alleyways and they meet up again with the ambulance. However, before the group can escape the city, the ambulance is rammed by Danzinger, and Roan is seized.
Roan is delivered alongside a drug addict name Lawrence by Danzinger to Owens, who is presiding over a midnight Purge mass in an NFFA-captured Catholic cathedral, while Barnes and the others give chase. The group meet up with Bishop and his team wherein they formulate a plan to rescue Roan by infiltrating the cathedral through a tunnel system. Meanwhile, at the cathedral, Owens has his friend Harmon James (Christopher James Baker), another NFFA loyalist, stab Lawrence as a cleansing ritual for his longtime vice. As he invites the high-ranking members of the NFFA to the altar to sacrifice Roan with Warrens to lead them in the purging, the group and Bishop’s team reaches the cathedral wherein Barnes and his team stealthily eliminates the NFFA Secret Service Agents and get to the choir loft to position.When Warrens begins to slit Roan’s throat, Marcos assassinates him from the choir loft, instigating a chaos that signals Bishop’s team to invade the cathedral. As the entire congregation begins to disperse and flee in panic, the group fires into the fleeing crowd, killing a vast number of them and leaving only a few, including Owens and James, to escape. A second horde of NFFA secret service agents attempts to eliminate the group but are gunned down by Bishop’s team. After the rebels untie Roan, the group head to the cathedral’s crypt to find Owens. Bishop captures Owens and contemplates killing him, to the protests of Roan and Barnes, while Owens goads him on to kill him. Bishop refrains, and spares him on the condition that Roan wins the election. As Barnes knocks Owens unconscious with Joe watching, the group also discovers a large number of bound and gagged Purge mass sacrifice victims that Owens had stashed in the crypt.Bishop and his men decide to secure transport to leave the cathedral while Barnes, Roan, Joe, Laney and Marcos attempt to untie the captives. However, they are soon ambushed by Danzinger and his mercenaries, leaving the rebel team killed and Bishop wounded. Barnes rushes out to help him, leaving Roan in the care of Laney and company. Bishop manages to dispatch the remaining mercenaries but is fatally gunned down by Danzinger. Seeing this, Barnes engages Danzinger in a vicious melee combat wherein the former gains the upper hand, killing the latter. As Roan frees some of the last of Owens’ imprisoned victims, James emerges from hiding and fires at the group, killing one of the newly freed victims. After incapacitating Laney and wounding Marcos, he targets Roan but Joe steps in and engages in a furious crossfire with James, finally killing him with a headshot. Before succumbing to his injuries, Joe urges Roan to win the election and tells Marcos and Laney to take care of his store.
On May 26, two months after the Purge, Roan defeats Owens in the presidency by a landslide while Barnes is promoted to her head of Secret Service while continuing his service as her chief of security. Marcos and Laney renovate the store and continue to run it in Joe’s honor while they watch the news of Roan’s victory and another report indicating that outlawing the Purge has become Roan’s top priority. Further reports state that many NFFA supporters have reacted to the election results with violent protests in the streets as the film ends with Marcos looking at an American flag hanging outside his store.When it comes to The Purge franchise, they get better and better with each installment. The Purge: Election Year builds on the groundwork of the first 2 movies, With the heavy political message it conveys, it won’t please everyone but it’s one hell of a greatfilm.

Advertisements

REVIEW: THE PURGE: ANARCHY

CAST
Frank Grillo (Beyond Skyline)
Carmen Ejogo (Selma)
Zach Gilford (The Last Stand)
Kiele Sanchez (Lost)
Zoe Soul (Prisoners)
Justina Machado (Final Destination 2)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Edwin Hodge (Red Dawn)
On March 21, 2023, the media credits the Purge for low unemployment and poverty levels across the country. Hours before the annual Purge begins, people either prepare to commit violence or barricade themselves indoors. Meanwhile, an anti-Purge resistance group intermittently hacks into TV programs to broadcast messages challenging the system, stating that the Purge does not cleanse aggression, but rather eliminates the poor. In Los Angeles, a waitress named Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo) rushes home to her daughter Cali (Zoë Soul) and her terminally ill father. As they prepare to lock down for the evening, Eva’s father slips out and into a waiting limo. A note left behind explains that he has sold himself as a Purge offering for $100,000 to be paid to Eva following the Purge.
Married couple Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are driving to Shane’s sister to wait out the Purge. Their car dies just as the Purge commences. A gang that cut their fuel line when they stopped at a market appears, forcing Shane and Liz to flee on foot. Elsewhere, an unnamed off-duty police Sergeant (Frank Grillo) tells his ex-wife that he must Purge to avenge the death of his son, and goes out into the streets heavily armed.
Moments after the Purge commences, a truck pulls up at the apartment house and disgorges heavily armed paramilitary men into the neighborhood. The apartment building’s superintendent Diego, who felt rejected by Eva in the past, bursts in with a shotgun intending to rape and kill them both. Diego sexually abuses Eva as he hears noises outside. As Diego stands up and challenges the paramilitary men, they shoot him to death, and drag Eva and Cali out into the street to their leader Big Daddy (Jack Conley) for his own personal Purge. As Big Daddy prepares his minigun to murder Eva and Cali, the Sergeant exits his car, murders all the surrounding paramilitary men and shoots Big Daddy in his cheek, incapacitating him. He rescues Eva and Cali, offering them protection. Returning to his car, the Sergeant finds Shane and Liz hiding in the back. The Sergeant is forced to take them when Big Daddy begins firing the minigun at the Sergeant’s car. When the heavily damaged car breaks down a few blocks later, Eva promises him the car of her co-worker Tanya (Justina Machado) if the Sergeant takes them to her apartment.
The group descends into the city’s underground subway system where the homeless are hiding to avoid the Purgers on higher ground. They think they are safe, but a Purge pyrotechnics gang wielding flamethrowers and a minigun arrive in the tunnel and begin to set the homeless people on fire, while also starting to advance on the Sergeant and the others. The gang attempts to murder the group, but Shane and Liz use the Sergeant’s machine guns and open fire on their assailants, creating a massive explosion which kills the murderers, and the five leave the tunnel to reach higher ground.
As the five survive intense street fighting, they notice a man in a suit tied to a wall outside with a knife in his stomach, implying that many wealthy Purgers and paramilitary men are being murdered by Anti-Purge resistance fighters. After reaching Tanya’s apartment, Eva admits that there is no car. As Tanya’s family aids the five with food and medicine, her sister Lorraine (Roberta Valderrama) suddenly shoots and kills Tanya for having sex with her husband. Lorraine shoots at family members and engages in a gunfight with the Sergeant as he tells Eva and the others to leave, and they exit the apartment. As the group flees, Big Daddy, who has tracked them through traffic cameras, arrives with more armed guards. The group evades Big Daddy only to be captured by the gang that was pursuing Liz and Shane.
Liz asks the gang why they are doing this, and one of the masked members responds that they will not kill them, but that they will die that night. The gang leaves the five at a building where they are delivered to a theater where wealthy Purgers bid on them, and if they are chosen then will be forced into a chamber to be killed. Five wealthy Purgers bid on the group, and they are forced into the chamber. However, the Sergeant and the others gain the upper hand over the Purgers. The observers of the event alert the theater’s elite security forces of the activity after the Sergeant kills five of the wealthy Purgers, and they swarm the chamber and kill Shane. Just before the security can kill the four, Anti-Purge insurgency forces storm the chamber and begin to murder the security guards, killing a large number of them. Liz chooses to join the fighters to avenge Shane’s death. The Sergeant hijacks a wealthy Purger’s Cadillac with Eva and Cali, and threatens her before they drive away.
The Sergeant drives to a suburban neighborhood. He explains that a year earlier, a man named Warren Grass (Brandon Keener) was driving under the influence one day when Grass hit the Sergeant’s son, killing him. Sergeant attacks Grass and his wife in their bedroom, threatening Grass with a knife before the camera cuts away. Leaving the house, the Sergeant is shot and wounded by Big Daddy, who says the New Founding Fathers believe the Purge eliminates too few of lower class and they have secretly dispatched death squads to increase the body count. He states the unwritten rule: do not save people. But before he kills Sergeant, Grass appears and shoots Big Daddy, killing him, revealing that Sergeant chose to forgive and spare him. Eva, Cali, and Grass have a standoff with Big Daddy’s death squad when the siren blares, ending the 12-hour Purge and forcing the death squad to leave the scene. Grass, Eva, and Cali rush the Sergeant to the hospital as emergency services begin cleaning up after the Annual Purge.
Yes the movie isn’t perfect- we don’t get to know our characters well enough to care too much. But there is this underlining dread about the movie, like waiting for something to happen that grips your most inner fears, and this movie has that down to a tea. It could have been better and the climax isn’t as rewarding as it promises to be, but The Purge: Anarchy is a real surprise.

REVIEW: THE PURGE

CAST
Ethan Hawke (Training Day)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Max Burkholder (Daddy Day Care)
Adelaide Kane (Reign)
Edwin Hodge (Red Dawn)
Rhys Wakefield (The Black Balloon)
Arja Bareikis (One Life to Live)
On March 21, 2022, James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) returns to his home in an affluent Los Angeles suburb to wait out the night with his wife, Mary, (Lena Headey) and their two children, Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and Charlie (Max Burkholder). James is the top salesman for elaborate security systems designed specifically for Purge Night, and the family is assured that the security system manufactured by James’ company will keep them safe. Their neighbors attribute the size and fittings of the newly extended Sandins’ house to his success in selling security products to them for Purge Night.
While the family awaits the start of the Purge, Zoey sees her boyfriend Henry (Tony Oller), an older boy whom James dislikes. James enables the security system, and as the Purge begins, the family disperses in their home to go about their normal routines. Zoey returns to her room to unexpectedly find Henry, who managed to sneak back in before the security system was engaged, and says that he plans to confront her dad about their relationship. Meanwhile, Charlie watches the security monitors and sees a wounded man calling for help. He temporarily disables the system to allow the man (Edwin Hodge) into the house. James races to re-engage the system and holds the man at gunpoint as Henry comes downstairs and pulls a gun on James. Henry fires at James and misses, but James fires back, mortally wounding and eventually killing Henry. During the chaos, the man disappears and hides. James takes Mary and Charlie back to the security control room.
As James is reprimanding Charlie for letting the man into their home, they view over the surveillance cameras a gang of masked young adults armed with guns, axes and hammers coming up to the front lawn. Their leader (Rhys Wakefield) removes his mask and compliments the Sandins on their support of the Purge, and then tells them that if they do not give them the homeless man, they will be forced to “release the beast”, implying they will forcefully enter the house and kill everyone inside. Mary asks James if the security system will help protect them, but James admits the system is only supposed to discourage potential invaders and would not actually protect them against heavy force. The gang cuts the power to the house, and Zoey disappears but then goes to Charlie’s remote control live stream camera car. Zoey finds Charlie’s toy car and speaks to the camera, as she knows Charlie is watching, and tells him that she will hide in his secret hiding place. The man takes her hostage, but James and Mary subdue him. The family realizes that they are no better than the gang that is waiting outside, and they decide not to turn the man over, but to fight back instead.
With their deadline having passed, the gang uses a truck to rip the metal plating off the front door and enter the house. James kills four of them before he himself is fatally stabbed by the leader. Charlie views the surveillance cameras and notices the family’s neighbors leaving their homes, and fatally shooting some of the Purging gang waiting outside. Just as the gang is about to kill Mary, several of the family’s neighbors arrive and kill most of the Purge gang. The leader attacks the family, but Zoey steps out from a hallway and shoots him dead. Mary thanks the neighbors for their support, but the neighbors reveal that they are angry at the Sandins for their wealth acquired by the money the neighbors paid the Sandins with for various security products. They tie Mary, Charlie and Zoey up with duct tape, pulling them out into the hallway to kill them.
As the neighbors make final preparations for the murder, the homeless man from earlier appears, shoots a neighbor to death and holds Grace Ferrin (Arija Bareikis), another neighbor, hostage. He forces the other neighbors to cut the Sandins’ ties, freeing them. He asks for Mary’s call to kill the neighbors, but Mary decides to leave them alive, instructing the neighbors there will be no more killing for the remainder of the night. As dawn arrives, a few minutes before the Purge ends, Grace attempts to grab a shotgun off a table, but Mary pulls the gun away and uses the stock of the gun to hit Grace in the nose, and then throws her face down into the glass table and breaks her nose. Mary strictly reminds her there will be no more killing for the rest of the Purge in the house. After some time, the sirens go off, announcing the end of the annual Purge. The neighbors leave for their own homes. After the man leaves, Mary, Zoey and Charlie wait and watch as emergency services come to retrieve the dead. During the credits, news reports state this year’s Purge is the most successful Purge to date.
Visceral and violent, the movie is also articulate and thought-provoking – but most of all it is extremely unsettling. All of which adds up to a great film.