So, The Purge movies involve twelve hours, from 7PM to AM, where in the United States, once a year during these hours, all crime is legal and there are no aids to come to you. You are by yourself. I know what you're thinking. Why? I thought why as well. Like The Hunger Games, it's to remember what hatred and violence does to our country and to prevent it from happening. Maybe a really bad terrorist attack went through. The idea sort of reminds me of Kersh from Elsie Chapman's Dualed. Anyway, Charlie Roan, played by Elizabeth Mitchell, witnessed the death of her family eighteen years ago because of The Purge, and she is currently running for president. While doing so, she also explains how The Purge has become a strategy for the government to eliminate the lower class of people they don't want to have to shelter. All that we need to prove it is a deli store owner named Joe has his purge insurance cut on the last day before the event. What's purge insurance? Either it's insurance for damages or money for extra security and or weapons or both. Just ask the NFFA, the National Founding Father's Association and Edwidge Owens, the NFFA's candidate and competitor to Roan. She has also explained to prove her disclaimer that government officials are given full protection, and her polls are tremendously rising. So if she wins the next election, the purge will come to an end, but she has one more purge to make it through, which might be more radical and memorable considering there are people rooting for her - and want her out.
Right off the bat, I think The Purge is a terrific idea for a horror film, while simultaneously showing we aren't much different from great white sharks or grizzly bears when we have the freedom to be. Well, some of us. And the idea of taking a Selma approach adds remorse and heart to the idea. Sadly, this film can't seem to decide if it wants to be a satire or a horror embodiment of the cruelty of the world, so it aims for both, and I like both of these ideas but they don't work well combined, nor is it easy to take seriously with such mediocre screenplay. Look, there are some decent jump scares and the movie is usually entertaining, but it's when a little girl comes into the deli shop for a candy bar and I got a little turned off. I know there are hooligans like that girl but she looked eight years old, and it's when the movie resorts to blatant swearing after an overly obvious (I saw your hair) mask unveiling that the movie all of a sudden became hard to tilt to the positive bar. I've never seen a little girl act this way; not even in Kid vs. Kat or The Forest, and if the girl was a little older or had a tattoo, it would've been more horrifying and less silly. I enjoyed the idea of there being an independent service ambulance. That idea fits into The Purge's world and shows real bravery and real acting from Betty Gabriel. And apparently Leo Barnes, played by Frank Grillo, was in the second film and returned for this film, who had a few good things to do but I doubt he'd survive getting shot right in the chest. He bleeds out like a jelly doughnut. Maybe he gained a super ability in the last film, but another random person gets shot in the ear and shrugs it off like a bee sting. Infact, here's what I mean by the screenplay; even in a world where The Purge is allowed, some pretty unbelievable things go down, just like the wound flaws. Starts off when Barnes and Roan escape through a trapdoor, and I didn't know how he could've put the rug back on. Then during a rescue, a car runs over a few people but I have no idea how they could've not heard the car coming; it was making noise. And then extra characters are still at a door the gang was trying to break into ten seconds after the run-overs, and considering the head-start, they would've redirected their aim or ran off. And then, despite their weaponry, the heroes run off from the gang despite the fact that there are probably only two left. After all they tried to do defending their territory too. Plus, there are people that come from other countries to witness the purge the americans put on and participate and notice Roan and Barnes and mock them. Uh, hello? Don't they recognize the purge opposing president's face? In the United States, I'm sure more people know Trump and Clinton's face than people who know how to pronounce David Bowie's last name correctly.
And that's not the end of it either. Too often the movie seems to give a few seconds of relaxation after an explosion before the attackers come up, which would've taken two seconds in real life and the characters wouldn't have forgotten, plus there is an attack orchestrated by an organized organization which we don't get to see undergo and unrealistically cuts us off from which considering the amount of soldiers and firearms heading in would've made an important and lasting action scene that could've brought some real drama and shown real perseverance, all the while having acting that is sub-par at best, which I guess is the point considering these people had to have lived through several purges, but still. Breath. Not only that, but during this movie, the characters don't seem to be running as fast as they should've been. I guess I can excuse Barnes for being shot, but they also run in view of the lights rather than in the shadows. Are they worried someone else is already there or something? I don't know, I just wish they worked on being invisible more often. There is also a death I wish didn't happen, which I was sad about but compared to all the other shots, this one didn't seem as lethal. I should've been crying, but once again the screenplay turned me away.
Another small form of good is I cared about the main characters, there is a side-plot about the election and doing the right thing that I didn't see coming and brought up an argument where I could see both sides clearly, and the NFFA has a horrifying feel of realism. The ending also reminds us that no matter who wins this next election, there will be uprisings, that some of us aren't much different to ISIS when it comes to motivation. Oh, and back to David Bowie, his song "I'm Afraid of Americans" plays and I liked the song, it fit. Those things make me half want to recommend it, and maybe in another world I would but as a critic I just can't recommend it for all the times major flaws seem to have gone over the heads of so many talented writers and producers. If it wasn't so...silly, and more scary, and a little less tragedy, maybe I would've loved this movie.