Rated: R for disturbing bloody violence and strong language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: July 1, 2016 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
The Purge series is based on capitalism gone insane leading the United States into solving problems by allowing crimes to occur with out punishment one night a year. Those in power along with some religious leaders have determined that a night of violence will reduce such activity outside of the Purge night. We learn quickly that the controlling powers (the very very rich) have decided that it is a method to reduce the excess population. It reminds us of Scrooge who stares: "let them die and reduce the surplus population." The script hints that the largest percent of folks killed during the insane night are minority and poor.
With that in mind an atmosphere is established that leads to the expectation that we will observe many gory slaughter scenes and we do. It's so bad that a truck roams the streets picking up bodies with the slogan keep Washington clean. The story takes place in Washington DC and the hint is that it is a national event, like the 4th of July.
If the film expected not to be political some one didn't get the message. There are red states and blue states and they just happen to be the same as they were in the last presidential election in 2012. The leader of the reform party Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) has a platform dedicated to ending The Purge. That draws numbers of forces from the do not change bunch to get together and attempt to kill her off during the Purge. If she believes she is safe in her home with metal window shields and an army of security agents she is as wrong as Harrison Ford in Air Force One, it only takes one traitor to foil the plan. That leads the Senator to hit the streets with her chief protector Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo).
The streets are filled with action but no logic. Some streets are deserted except when the bad guys are looking for mischief. One store owner Joe (Mykelti Williamson) becomes the target of two young girls because he caught them shop lifting. The kids come up with two cars covered with white Christmas lights and filled with the two girls and friends dressed for Halloween and toting automatic weapons. The inconsistent story has vastly empty streets in contrast to the locations where the heroes are headed then they fill with military folks out to end the life of the reform Senator, and frightening killers out on a spree.
The symbols hit hard, the lead assassin has a Nazi symbol on his bald head and a Confederate Flag on his shoulder. The evil secret controlling board is made up of obnoxious rich white people who have turned their politics into religion and gather in church on Purge evening to carve up some of the enemies of their party. They now believe it is a religious function to destroy all who oppose their Purge mentality.
It sounds nuts, and it is. Could the premise have some value, perhaps but the script makes no effort of string the events together. A series of scenes bounce on and off the screen and when action is needed the players are all in the right place to create violence or bloody scenes.
Near the end a new set of rebels develops the ability to blow up the church where the secret powerful hoard is gathered, perhaps that would have been a fitting ending if all the powers to be were blown up in the church they believe in. That would have been a dramatic ending scene, it also would have been the only one in the film.
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