Tag Archives: the purge

Third ‘Purge’ a Boring Letdown

The_Purge_Election_YearFrank Grillo is one badass man.


“The Purge: Election Year” is the third installment of the Purge series and is again written and directed by James DeMonaco. Frank Grillo also reprises his role from the second film, this time as the head of security for a presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) who wants to get rid of the Purge, the annual night where every crime is legal.


The original Purge film was pretty boring, and disappointed many people because it promised a crazy “everything goes” night of violence but turned out to just be a standard home invasion “thriller” (term used very lightly). The second film, “Anarchy,” was a relatively solid action flick and showcased the chaos that viewers wanted to see in the world of the Purge. “Election Year” takes the good from “Anarchy” but the bad from the first film, and the end product is a mundane, cliché action film that tries and mostly fails to be anything more than that.


First things first, Frank Grillo is the best part of the film; I’ve liked him for a few years now, since he was in supporting roles in the likes of “Warrior” and “The Grey.” He was great in “Anarchy” and again carries the load here as the leader of the group with a pistol always drawn. Grillo has a calm demeanor about him, and he is as cool as he is intense.


The rest of the cast, however, is an entirely different story. Pretty much every single other actor in here gives a performance ranging from fine to awful, and there is some overacting that is just plain cringe-inducing. Characters widen their eyes and tilt their heads, which is one thing about the Purge series that I have always hated and never understood. Just because crime is legal for one night a year, suddenly every human being, even when it isn’t Purge night, acts and talks like they just escaped the looney bin. It takes you out of the movie and also knocks any serious undertones the film is trying to convey.


Which brings me to my next point: I am all for a film trying to be more than a by-the-numbers action/horror flick. But “Election Year” doesn’t seem to have any true messages or social commentaries on its mind; it just throws some ideas at the wall and hopes one sticks.

I’m not trying to get political, I myself try to stay out of politics and hate the two party system, but it should be noted this film almost goes out of its way to paint Conservatives as insane religious, Neo-Nazi fanatics who hate the poor and love the NRA, while the other side (led by a female Senator, I won’t name names who its likely an analogy for) have Americans’ best interests at hearts. I’m not knocking the film for choosing sides, just how out of the way they went to do so, and some viewers may be turned off altogether by it.


Unlike “Anarchy,” “Election Year” isn’t an action movie. It has three big shootouts, each of which is well-staged and entertaining, but they’re so far, few and in between that it is more of a shake awake than a well-earned treat.


“The Purge: Election Year” is better than the original and Frank Grillo is fun towatch, but the dull narrative and lack of any intelligence to back up its desire to be political satire sink it to the level of almost unrecommendable. I went into this with relative high hopes but walked out disappointed, and if this is the direction the series is headed in, perhaps it is time to purge the franchise.


Critics Rating: 4/10



‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Vastly Better than First

The_Purge_–_Anarchy_Poster            “Spider-Man 2”. “The Two Towers”. “The Purge: Anarchy.” Bet you never guessed those three films would be mentioned together, yet here they are. And what do all these films have in common? They are all sequels that vastly improve upon their predecessors.

Set in the year 2023, America has been “reborn” (as the film reminds you a dozen times) due to one night a year where all crime is legal. A stranded couple, a kidnapped mother and daughter, and a man out for revenge are all left on the streets when the annual “Purge” commences, and must team up to survive the night. James DeMonaco, writer/director from the first film, returns.

The first “Purge” film was very meh. It had an interesting premise, but that’s about as far as it got. It really didn’t take advantage of its “no laws” world, and instead opted to become a basic shoot-em-up home invasion thriller. With “Purge: Anarchy”, the filmmakers actually listened to the audience and gave us what we wanted: a glance at a world where all crime is legal.

The characters in this sequel are much more relatable, and much more intelligent, than those in the first. Frank Grillo, who is very underrated but a boss in most every role he takes, steals the show as a man who is trying to get revenge for his son’s wrongful death. He is the leader of the ragtag group, and is the glue that holds the film together. He’s much more entertaining than Ethan Hawke’s rich daddy role in the last film. You feel sympathy for the other characters, too, but you never feel any real emotional connection to them, which is pretty standard in a horror-action film.

That brings up another aspect where “Anarchy” improves: it doesn’t try to be an actual horror film and instead knows it’s an action thriller, that implements moments of tension and shock. There are some genuinely edgy parts of this film, especially when the group is lurking around the dark streets of Los Angeles, trying to stay out of sight from maniacs.

Now the film isn’t perfect, and most of the flaws are the same thing that held the first film down, albeit this time they aren’t as prevalent. There are still some dull moments, particularly those leading up to the commencement of the Purge, and there are still some horror film clichés, such as people tripping for no reason and cars dying just as they are needed most. Although, the film does give a solid explanation for the car’s battery failing, enough that I didn’t roll my eyes, so I’ll give them some points.

I enjoyed “The Purge: Anarchy”, probably for the same reasons most people will: it’s much better than the first film, and it actually delivers on its creative promise. Grillo is engaging, the action is very well shot and the immersing into this twisted world is very convincing. You can’t take a film like this too seriously, and it may try and reach too far towards social and political commentary, but if you take it at face value, “The Purge: Anarchy” is a fun time at the movies.

Critics Rating: 7/10

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013

2013 was a year with a lot of good movies. There weren’t too many bad movies.  But boy oh boy when a movie was bad, it was bad. Here are my “top” 10 worst films from the year 2013. Hopefully I feel a little better after writing this list because Lord knows I suffered watching these films.

220px-The_Purge_poster10. The Purge

A movie that has its plot revolve around a 24 hour period where all crime is legal should not be as boring as this movie was. It honestly had some painfully dumb characters, even by horror film standards. I wish I could purge this from my memory (see what I did there?).

220px-A_Good_Day_to_Die_Hard9. A Good Day to Die Hard

The name of this movie should have been “A Good Day to Die”. Period. That’s it. Somehow the makers of this film managed to ruin one of the most iconic characters in the most famous film franchises in one movie. The acting in the movie was bad. The writing was worse. And the direction was even worse.

220px-The_Family_2013,_Poster8. The Family

Robert De Niro has sleepwalked through a lot of movies in the past decade, but this was almost insulting. He clearly didn’t care, and somehow managed to make a mob movie boring. It was just an unnecessarily violent film, and not in a fun way.

220px-Percy-Jackson-Sea-poster7. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

An extremely bland film, especially considering it is about mythical gods and monsters. The books were good; this franchise is not.

220px-Pain_&_Gain_film_poster6. Pain & Gain

Probably my biggest disappointment of 2013. The actors are all A-list, and tried their best. The true story it is based on, bodybuilders kidnapping rich members of the gym at which they work, is crazy. But director Michael Bay isn’t funny, no matter how hard he tries. The tone of the film was all over the place, none of it landing anywhere fun.

220px-A_Haunted_House_Poster5. A Haunted House

I didn’t loathe this movie, and they made it without the intention of winning awards, but that doesn’t change the fact that this movie is bad. Lazy and outdated jokes and a horrible story arch made it hard to enjoy.

215px-Identity_Thief_Poster4. Identity Thief

A movie with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, two masters of deadpan, should be great. But this is never funny enough to be a dumb comedy or smart enough to be a sharp satire. It is no surprise the writer of this movie also wrote the third Hangover film. And speak of the devil…

220px-The_Hangover_Part_33. The Hangover: Part III

I don’t think a film has ever been so lazy in its execution, and made it so obvious the actors didn’t care about being on set. The writers tried hard to get away from the formula of the first and second film, but what it turned into was a black action comedy that was neither exciting nor funny.

220px-Grown_Ups_2_Poster2. Grown Ups 2

Adam Sandler just keeps getting worse. Every time I walk into a new Sandler film, I think to myself: “maybe this time will be different. Maybe Sandler will actually respect his audience”. Nope. Rob Schneider refused to be in this movie. Rob Schneider. Rob. Schneider. God, I hated this movie.

And Grown Ups 2 would have been number one, if not for a film that was just an insult to all of Hollywood and the human race in general. That’s right; the number one worst film from 2013, the king of crap, the film that was a slap to the face of movies in general is…

215px-Movie_43_poster1. Movie 43

They made this movie after guilt tripping and tricking dozens of actors into filming it over four years. Even if the film was funny, which it is by no conceivable measure, it still would be awful because of the choppy editing and lack of any coherent story. Words just honestly can’t describe how bad and unfunny this movie is. It insults anyone who enjoys laughter or who has talent and is trying to break into the film industry. It truly is one of the worst films of all-time. No exaggeration.

Well, I feel better. I hope that you had the fortune of never seeing any of these films, but if you did, hopefully this eased some of your pain a little bit, too. Reviewing and watching movies is one of the most enjoyable things on God’s green earth, but it doesn’t come without its share of pain. Like spending two hours watching movies such as these.

I want to thank everyone who read this and read my reviews in 2013, and here is to a great year of cinema in 2014.