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Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 2.21.45 PM

After viewing ‘The Purge: Election Year,’ I felt like I needed to purge. ‘Election Year’ is the third installment in Director James DeMonaco’s manic series of pseudo-political, race-based slasher movies. Here’s the premise (let’s not call it a plot) of the Purge trilogy:

A white supremacist, ultra-religious, male privileged, crony capitalist party called the “New Founding Fathers of America” has run the country for the last 25 years. Crime is at an all-time low, unemployment is at an all-time low, and the streets are clean. It’s a horror!

In order to cut down on the number of homeless and poor people who require expensive housing and medical care, the NFFA instituted the Purge as a day of national catharsis. One night each year, for twelve hours people can commit just about any crimes they wish with no legal consequences whatsoever. Not much (aside from certain explosives) is off limits. Murder, rape, beheadings, mayhem, torture or savagery…all A-OK.


Yawn. It’s like any Saturday night in Chicago, the difference being that even bad dialog and overacting is permissible. Naturally, most good people stay off the streets if they can, because most bad people are out there Purging their asses off. There are no services available. No fire, no police, no garbage pickup, nothing. People are on their own. Which is also like Chicago.

Who could dream up such a nutty premise? Look no further than Boris Sobelman and Gene Roddenberry, the writers of an episode of Star Trek (the original series) called “The Return of the Archons.” You may have seen it when it premiered . . . in 1967.

So, all DeMonico had to do to create a cheap series of racist exploitation films was sharpen up his screenwriter’s crayon and add a whole bunch of killings, a big heaping bucket of lunatic fringe politics and a soupçon of “A Modest Proposal” to a TV script that’s close to 50 years old. Genius! And people pay to see it. Double genius!

So, when the Purge happens, who gets it in the neck (literally in the neck, because there’s a guillotine involved)? Well, black people and new immigrants are killed indiscriminately, of course, some of them by other black people and other new immigrants. Poor people who can’t afford to Purge-proof their meager housing are sitting ducks. And let’s not forget the members of the audience, who are the real victims here.


And who benefits from the Purge? White people, who are to blame for everything. Insurance companies that charge a lot of money for Purge insurance. And the NRA, which is specifically mentioned by name as a beneficiary of the slaughter. But let’s not forget to mention DeMonaco, who makes wheelbarrows full of cash every time this movie splatters across the big screen.

But despite the vise grip that the NFFA party has on this dystopian USA, the country still has free and fair elections. It’s incomprehensible, I know, but there it is. Anyway, it’s an election year, and running against the white male power elite is holier-than-thou white female Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell).


She vows to end the Purge and give this film franchise a decent burial, a sentiment that nobody can argue against. Protecting her from the Purge is her head of security, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), who was the protagonist of the previous installment of this franchise.


Grillo is the unlikeliest of action heroes. He’s not big. He’s not young. He’s not athletic. He’s not handsome. He’s not charismatic. He can’t shoot for shit. He handles his Beretta pistol like it’s a fairy wand. He talks funny. He has a Soviet-era hairstyle cut by a drunken Russian barber. He’s not a great actor. And, despite all that, he’s pretty damn good at playing Leo Barnes and keeps this leaden movie afloat.

Along the way, Barnes and Senator Roan are chased by neo-Nazi mercenaries with full auto weapons in the employ of the NFFA, led by the evil Earl Danzinger (Terry Serpico). Barnes also handles run-of-the-mill lunatic Purgers who surveille them with home-made drones. The feckless pair falls in with deli owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson), his employee Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) who seems to have no last name, and Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel), a former mass-murdering Purger-turned-volunteer-ambulance-driver with a heart of gold. The team is aided by Crips, who in DeMonaco’s upside-down world are the good guys.

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Another little slice of heaven: this abomination was produced by Michael Bay, who has personally earned over $400 million by making pro-American, sometimes arguably jingoistic entertainment like “13 Hours,” “The Last Ship” and “Pearl Harbor.” Maybe he needed to tune up his Hollywood cred. Or maybe he never read the script. Or maybe he’s in on the joke.

The Guns of The Purge: Election Year
Election Year has only one redeeming quality other than Grillo. It has guns. Lots of guns.

Barnes sprays a M92 FS one-handed and misses almost everything except the scenery. Fortunately, he’s very good with a push knife. Marco wields an M14 (or maybe an M1A) with the skill of a surgeon, at one point intentionally clipping the ear lobe of a schoolgirl Purger as a warning. The warning was not taken, so Rucker later vaporizes the rest of the schoolgirl’s head with a nifty Serbu Super Shorty. Speaking of shotguns, they are visible in abundance, including a Mossberg 590 Marine, a sawed-off Mossberg 500 and some Remington 870s.

Earl Danziger raises hell with his heavenly suppressed FN F2000 Tactical, while his crew shoots H&K UMPs and a nice Sage International M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle. There’s a Kriss Vector sighting and many an AK-47’s, AKM’s and AKMS’s carried by deranged schoolgirls, heroic Crips and others. A couple of Russian “murder tourists” use a shiny and expensive Colt Python and an FN P90. If people knew that Russia has Pythons and P90’s for sale, the Sochi Olympics would have been a much more popular destination. An FN SCAR-L can be seen on a brief ride-along.

No tax stamps? No problem! For your Purging pleasure, we have an M60 and, best of all, an attack helicopter with a GE M134 Minigun in all its 6000 rpm glory.

As this potboiler unfolded, I was left wondering whether DeMonaco actually intended ‘Election Year’ to be more of a goof on anti-white racism than an actual anti-white screed. As political propaganda, ‘Election Year’ is far too stupid to be effective. It’s not as sneakily subversive as, say, ‘High Noon,’ which was a political statement against the anti-communist blacklist disguised as a well-crafted cowboy movie. ‘Election Year’ is far more cartoonish.

For example, an ‘Election Year’ scene in a church with a bunch of old white people in ecclesiastical robes chanting “blessed be” made the audience giggle, which may or may not be what DeMonaco was hoping for. Nobody giggled at anything in ‘High Noon.’ In fact, it inspired the filming of the anti-‘High Noon,’ namely, the excellent and memorable ‘Rio Bravo.’

Whatever its purpose, ‘Election Year’ is deeply offensive. I suffered through it so you don’t have to. Not in a theater, not on PPV, not on Redbox. Not ever. I took one for the team, and now I think I have a sore shoulder and PTSD.
One little known factoid: ‘Election Year’ was shot in the Hollywood of the East — Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Model: The Purge: Election Year
Caliber: Misfire
Length: 105 minutes
Action: Fast
Finish: “The Purge Strikes Back” anyone?
Price: $10 million (which it earned back on day one). It usually costs Hollywood $200 million to make a movie this idiotic.

RATINGS (out of five bullets):

Style * * *
Fright masks, Insane Clown Posse makeup, murderous schoolgirls in short skirts and overhead shots of Washington burning – what more could you ask for?

Reliability * *
Even a good Grillo and some major firepower can’t save a turgid and preachy script.

Overall * * 1/2
‘Election Year’ is exactly the sequel to ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ that everyone expected. Sure, it’s better than the abysmal ‘Anarchy,’ but given such a low bar, that’s faint praise indeed.

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  1. Thanks for taking a bullet for us..although I never intend to watch any of these hollyweird masterpieces. Hey how a Ralph gun-worthy rating?

    • FWW, I think that a “gun rating” is such a good idea that I’m going to incorporate it into future reviews.

    • “You know, sometimes it’s called the cleansing or the red time. There was this one world that called it just murder night.”

      Anyone get the drop?

      All the same its a movie that shows even in such a hellish America it is still better then the nightmare the leftist have build over the last 100 odd years.

      “Low crime, low unemployment, pro white” and people armed to the hilt that remove the lowest common denominator in society that make up the voter blocs the left needs to stay alive? I can see why leftist find such things to be a nightmare.

      • I’ve had it with the anti-white, anti-firearms movies. We get enough of that crap in real life these days.

        • WE have, and these leftist anti white scum will wonder what hit them. The house of cards is about to fall down. Oh look what is about to trigger it, a Trump Card.

          After we shut off immigration, limit to western nations, cap it at 200,000, end birthright ciztenship, and start deportations along with massive taxes the left will be starved off voters.

  2. Are these movies really popular? The first I’ve heard of them was, I think, a review of the last one here on TTAG.
    I thought they were low-budget straight-to-video like Troma movies but without any of the redeeming humor or cult following of the Troma movies.

    None of the theaters around me had the first or second one and none have this one either and I work with a lot of middle-school and high-school aged kids who I hear talk about all sorts of stuff they like from music to video games to movies and haven’t once heard any of them mention these Purge movies.

    • The Purge movies are theatrically released, big money-makers. The first sold about $65 million, the second about $70 million, each on an investment of about $10 million. This one has already grossed over $36 million on an investment of $10 million.

      To date, Purge movies have grossed almost $175 million and counting.

      • Great. With returns like that on a 10 mil investment each time, I’m afraid I’ll see 2 or 3 more of these movies released. Bleh.

    • That’s super surprising. These are big studio, major summer block busters. I can’t believe no theater near you has these. In my city EVERY theater has them, and pushes them hard. They’re also big in current pop-culture, being mentioned in music lyrics, TV shows, and even in the news as some towns have had incidents where people put up signs calling for a real life Purge.

      • I just checked again. Not one of the theaters within 50 miles is showing it.
        It’s as if this franchise simply doesn’t exist here. I’d never had known about it had TTAG not reviewed it since none of the local kids have ever mentioned it. None of the adults for that matter and they’re constantly asking me about shitty movies I’ve never heard of.

  3. How stupid political propaganda can (or needs to) be in order to be effective is inversely proportional to the sophistication of the intended target audience.

    • THIS.

      “As this potboiler unfolded, I was left wondering whether DeMonaco actually intended ‘Election Year’ to be more of a goof on anti-white racism than an actual anti-white screed. As political propaganda, ‘Election Year’ is far too stupid to be effective.”

      I have always respected Ralph’s opinion, but he is mistaken with these statements. These scripts are written by SJWs, smart enough to make it in college but too foolish to see through the brainwashing they were given.

      The themes of the movie are what the scriptwriters actually believe.

  4. meh i got to see it for free from a radio promo it was fun schlock but nothing else but it did entertain and in the end that’s what all media is supposed to do

  5. Hollywood needing to make money. What could go wrong.

    You could say ‘Hollywood, needing to fulfill our need for entertainment.’

    But they don’t, although they would blame it on us.

  6. I remember that Star Trek episode. I watched the first purge movie(used dvd). The star trek episode was way better. Even with Shatner.

    • I’ve only seen the first one. It’s actually a kinda interesting concept but they didn’t do anything with it besides turn it into a home invasion movie, with a convenient excuse for there to be no police response.

      I can’t imagine that the sequels were any better.

      A better, or at least more entertaining, movie of a similar ilk is You’re Next

  7. Sat through 5 minutes of the first “Purge” that was enough. thank God it was on HBO and not as a theater waste of $$.

    • If you watched the first 5 minuets or so, you watched enough to spare yourself the rest of the movie.
      Very predictable.

  8. Looks like a lot of fun and even better than the first two installments. Can’t wait to see it.

    • I’m looking forward to seeing “Birth of a Nation” on the big screen. And then watching cities burn for real.

  9. I watched the second one – “Anarchy” – on cable. Give the makers credit, they keep the budget under tight control and they turn a profit. So good business, but bad movie.

  10. The best tradition of science-fiction is to take an idea, however fantastical, and fearlessly explore all its logical ramifications, wherever they may lead.

    The whole premise of the Purge series does the opposite. It takes its premise and does its level best to studiously ignore the ramifications.

    First, it should be blindingly obvious that only an idiot, however homicidal, chooses to stage a home invasion on the one night out of the year when everybody and their dog is staying up all night, fortified in their living room with their family, armed to the teeth.

    The premise claims purgers target disadvantaged groups. Some of them make sense, like the homeless, the elderly and the disabled. Many of them make no sense, like “criminals” and “the unemployed”. You’re going to target Mr. Six-Feet-of-Felon because you figure ten years of lifting weights and gang fights with shanks has made him an easy target?

    Speaking of hardened criminals, violent crime doesn’t happen because ordinary, functional citizens are suppressing homicidal urges all the time and eventually they just burst from it. A large body of criminology research tells us such crimes are overwhelmingly perpetrated by the same small group of repeat offenders. These people do not think like normal people. They do not go back to being unassuming comptrollers and soccer moms when not killing. Those that can are very rare, a few dozen in the United States over the course of my lifetime.

    What would really happen under such an arrangement? Everyone with toxic waste stored up, dumps it. You’d probably have a mad hacker’s scramble for anything whose ownership is established electronically and not by physical possession. Or bankers would just appropriate deposits and say it was hackers. Probably cartels or gangs would provide their own security and homemade “law enforcement” to establish their own public markets where anything can be traded.

    • And it would be the perfect day of the year for a coup. All crime is legal, so it’s the one day that treason isn’t treasonous.

      It’s a system that falls apart at the slightest breeze.

      • Ah, but politicians above a certain level are off limits. Protected. Not targets.

        See how that works? It’s kinda like when Congress passes a law and then exempts itself.

        • Well, isn’t that convenient. Still, if you wanted to destabilize a government, it’s a very convenient day. Sure, Congress and the President might be off limits, but are Congressional staffers and bureaucrats at executive agencies? Do a pogrom of those people every time there’s a purge and suddenly no one will take those jobs. There may be people in office, but otherwise, the government is a ghost town.

    • To be fair there probably would not be that many harden criminals around after the first 2 times it happens. Since most Criminals are repeat offenders, all it takes is some one walking through the prisons and executing all the prisoners.

  11. To quote Kipling “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!” I would not watch that drivel for love or money.

  12. After 12 hours of no rules, no holds barred rape and pillage how would you get the lid back on? This is a nationwide event. Not just Los Angeles or Baltimore.

    But in hollywood you just flip a switch and normalcy returns.

    • Very good point. Historically, anytime people get into that “zone” it is remarkably difficult to restore sanity until the bloodletting runs its course.

    • It is the will of Landru! That’s how.

      (Not to be confused with Landrieu of Louisiana.)

      PS to RF and other TTAG powers-that-be: For some reason, sometimes when I reply the page loads, flies into a tizzy jumping up and down to top and bottom, then reloads, but loses the fact I wanted to reply to so-and-so. So I get to do it over again, and wait through the delays while the crapadware reloads. Minor irritant, but it may be why some peoples’ replies are getting misplaced.

    • How do you get the lid back on it? Well silly, the law says it ends, so that’s just the end of it!

      Haven’t you heard the ‘gun safety’ advocates talking about how we need laws to stop murderers? Gun free zones, with signs and all, the law says so, and that’s the end of it, sheesh….

  13. Very valid point by JWM. Even for Hollywood, the premise is a bit far-fetched. There isn’t a magical “off switch” at 12 hours in the real world. You’d need a Purge to take care of the Purgers still rampaging.

    The premise is mainly to take stabs at right-wingers in the US, and the NRA. I watched the first one. Didn’t go back for seconds. Also the timelines were unrealistic, especially considering the movie took place in California. I think the first one takes place in 2018. There is no way in hell all of California’s gun control laws would be rolled back that fast – most of the guns the “good guys” had in the first Purge were not California-compliant.

    Yeah, nitpicking I know.

  14. I watched the first installment in the series. It was OK, except for the silly PC ending. You know, the homeless black guy saves the wife and kiddies. Mainly, it was the premise that attracted me. After all, the law doesn’t protect us from the dregs of society. It protects them from us. We could use a good purge this election year.

  15. Spoiler alert!

    When dude got shot, he dug the bullet out, and it was a “trackable” bullet. Talk about screenwriters just making stuff up to get out of wholes in his/her/their own story.

  16. 12 hours of no laws? Can I keep the silencers, SBRs, and SBS I plan to make in that 12 hours?

  17. I know they are using this movie to attack conservatives…but if you really look at the “Purge” it is all left wing in it’s core…..they call themselves the New Founding Fathers……I am sure that conservatives are more than happy with the old ones…who hates the old ones…democrats and the left. The idea of 12 ours of behavior without consequences…again, not the Right…the people who believe in the rule of law…minorities are the target…the democrat party has been and still is the party of racism in this country…the core groups that make up the democrat party are all openly, and proudly racist…but unlike the old democrat party, the modern democrat party embraces racists of all colors…la raza…the naacp…..bill clinton’s political mentor and good friend….j. william fulbright, even obama..sat in an openly, and proudly racist church for 20 years…

    So the Purge, is another example of left wing, psychological Projection…they take flaws that they have, and try to put them on other people…people they don’t like….

    The Purge is truly a left wing fantasy……

    • And in the process they hit on a totally good idea. They would do this to us if they could, so we should absolutely do this to them. Right Wing Death Squads. Round up the Dems, throw them outa helicopters, feed them to sharks, line them up against walls and gun them down, put them on the trains to the FEMA camps that they have ready to go FOR US.

      Basically just horrifically persecute the left until other countries take them in as refugees and then we slam the door shut behind them. After that we can truly make America great again, because lord knows Trump ain’t gonna manage it. Not as long as he’s playing by the rules that the left takes a steaming dump on every day.

  18. I just tried to watch, actually, jump around and fast forward in, the 2013 original.
    Got to where the Emergency Broadcast System announced the commencement of this year’s purge:

    Weapons of class 4 and lower have been authorized for use during the purge. All other weapons remain restricted.

    Ranking government officials, having declared open season on the rest of you, have exempted themselves from The Purge and are not to be harmed (That part there is enough to make me drive a McVeigh truck into a ranking official’s bedroom)

  19. I was hoping that Purge: Election Year might be about open season on unconstitutional politicians, judges, and government bureaucrats.
    No such luck.

  20. Gonna totally disagree. I haven’t seen anything other than the trailers, but it’s obvious that this film needs to become a documentary. I’m totally serious, people.

    White people can’t win the political game because we’re about to be outbred and outvoted by the democrat voting brown skinned people, which is why the Democrat passed the Immigration act in 1965 to specifically shift legal immigration to 90% non-white and then left the Southern border wide open for the Latins. And since white people are 90% of the right wing, then that means we lose it all. In twenty years the right will never win another federal fight again. When the ethnic breakdown of America looks like it does in California, the US will do exactly what California is doing. I already left California for good, I’m not interested in it following me.

    So since the left took a dump all over the rules and stacked the deck why are we somehow bad to to ditch the rules altogether and unstack it?

  21. The first version with Ethan Hawk was ok, the Purge event itself was something new for a movie. #2 was cheap and no so good on shooting scenes, but Frank Grillo is a good actor and I do like his work, so I will probably see #3.

  22. I hope you didn’t pay to watch that drivel. I haven’t been to a theater in over 5 years, and I don’t miss it. I can carry in my home theater and pause to take a whiz. No crowds, no mystery sticky spots. Not afraid to look at the seating under lights…

  23. Hollystupid has no imagination and just keep producing the same crap. I can’t believe you folks pay to see these libtard 2-hour commercials.

  24. I rather enjoyed the movie.

    Other than moral disagreements, witch I have with the general population anyway. And the moment the lady mentioned the NRA as an evil organization making money off of the death of people, just the same ol’ same ol’.

    I think it is generally how people may behave. A few inconsistencies aside of course.

    There was plenty of room at the end for the next one…. If you missed it. I believe it will be “Purge: Revolution” or “Purge: Civil War”. The NFFA supporters were rioting, they just have to organize and the third american civil war will commence.

  25. I’d rather see star trek beyond. Because I love well done scifi…Especially action sci fi military adventures! “Set phasers to $tun- -July 22 !”

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