The Purge: Election Day follows Leo (Frank Grillo) as a bodyguard sworn to protect a Senator (Elizabeth Mitchell) who wants to bring an end to the Purge. Most government leaders would do anything to stop her, so they put a bounty on her head during the Purge night. Can Leo get her through the night safely, or is the Purge destined to be the new controlling element of the government?
The Purge: Election Day Review
As went the Saw franchise, if you've seen one of them, you've seen them all. And depending on your affinity towards them, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The third Purge installment does little to dazzle the mind or bring anything fresh to a franchise that seems immune to critical panning. But, it achieves more than the sequel before it.
The first Purge film brought an interesting concept to the screen, but chose to keep the setting intimate and claustrophobic. Everyone's wish after the first film was, "can we see what it looks like everywhere else, on a grander scale?" And the wish was granted with Purge: Anarchy. We got to see the mayhem outside of a single home and we were exposed to the weak writing and acting that tends to correspond with an extended cast and budget devoted to the action.
So then we got Election Day. And Election Day is basically Anarchy 2. It doesn't bring much to the table that we haven't already seen in some fashion. The twist to this one is that Frank Grillo reprises his role as Leo Barnes to protect a Senator during the Purge. The Senator plans to bring down the national ritual, but of course we know the higher ups rather enjoy the benefits of the holiday, and will do whatever they can to stop her.
The last two films fall somewhere between action and horror. They have the creepy masks and the added benefit of the dead of night, but beyond that it's merely a game of survival using whatever wits and weapons you have on hand. The franchise has found its niche and it sees no reason to break from it.
The action is enjoyable, and we get plenty of Purging to go around. The plot addition to the predictable format is well and good enough to get the rest of your brain to come along for the ride. There just isn't anything special to this franchise, already. It's been drained of its magic. Just like the endless Saw sequels, there is nothing new under the sun. And while that is all you need to be entertained -- as I admittedly was -- it's not enough to give it much positive critical feedback.