Polls sug­gest more car­nage

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

The dystopian B-movie fran­chise ven­tures into the world of pol­i­tics for its third out­ing as the se­ries’ in­no­va­tive, thought-pro­vok­ing sce­nario of all crime be­ing le­galised for 12 hours is taken to a new level.

Feel­ing more like a di­rect se­quel to the sec­ond flick – and mov­ing even fur­ther away from the con­fined orig­i­nal – Elec­tion Year ratch­ets up the vi­o­lence and gore as Frank Grillo’s vig­i­lante-turned-se­cu­rity agent Leo Barnes re­turns with a vengeance.

This time around, Leo’s ef­forts to sur­vive Purge Night also sees him hav­ing to pro­tect Se­na­tor Char­lie Roan (El­iz­a­beth Mitchell), a Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date tar­geted for ex­e­cu­tion due to her vow to elim­i­nate the Purge.

The pol­i­tics on dis­play feel wor­ry­ingly con­tem­po­rary and rel­e­vant in a world where Amer­ica is be­ing hit with wide­spread racial ten­sion and forced to lis­ten to the ex­treme views spouted by Pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Don­ald Trump.

But re­turn­ing fran­chise writer-di­rec­tor James DeMonaco doesn’t delve too deeply into the rights and wrongs, and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions, of his ver­sion of a bro­ken Amer­ica; it’s just an ex­cuse for his char­ac­ters to fire some guns and do ev­ery­thing they can to stay alive.

Lead­ing the way is Grillo who, thank­fully, fol­lows on from his su­per­charged per­for­mance in pre­vi­ous en­try Anar­chy with an­other turn rock­ing with hard-boiled charisma. It’s a pity Marvel have in­tro­duced Jon Bern­thal as The Pu­n­isher on TV’s Dare­devil as Grillo would’ve been per­fect in the role if the comic book stu­dio ever de­cided to in­tro­duce a more adult chum for the Avengers in their cin­e­matic uni­verse.

Se­ries new­bie Mitchell also im­presses as an ide­al­is­tic se­na­tor with a tragic back­story who re­tains her morals in the face of in­creas­ing lev­els of dark­ness and de­bauch­ery.

The rest of the thinly-drawn char­ac­ters come and go with­out mak­ing much of an im­pact and the film stalls too of­ten for chat when it should be mo­tor­ing for­ward.

The ac­tion be­comes pretty repet­i­tive too with an over­re­liance on shoot-outs as Leo and friends stum­ble into face-off af­ter face-off, and some of the dou­ble-crosses can be seen com­ing from a mile away.

For­tu­nately, DeMonaco knows how to scorch a mem­o­rable im­age into our brains; masked teenage girls rolling up in a car decked out in Christ­mas lights wield­ing guns and the world’s creepi­est church ser­mon just two ex­am­ples of the di­rec­tor at his best.

The open­ing bloody home in­va­sion is af­fect­ing hor­ror cin­ema and the idea of “mur­der tourists” a chill­ing glimpse into what it could be like to live in a world like DeMonaco’s cre­ation.

The cli­max hints at more to come – and even greater car­nage.

But if the Purge se­ries is to progress to a fourth film and be­yond, it will need that fresh­ness as the for­mula is be­com­ing a lit­tle stale.

Gun for hire Frank Grillo (Leo Barnes) pre­pares for bat­tle

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