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Review: Don’t cast vote for ‘The Purge: Election Year’

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Not smart enough to be satire, not corny enough to be camp and not twisted enough to be depraved, “The Purge: Election Year” is another letdown from the “Purge” series.

There remains potential in the “Purge” premise — all crime is legal for one night as a way for America to annually cleanse all of its pent-up rage — but it’s again squandered, as is the election year tie-in. Writer-director James DeMonaco could have had a ball by drawing parallels to our election cycle, but he avoids making connections to current events. He’s served a big juicy meatball of a pitch, but he’s too timid to take a swing.

Too bad. So here we are, back on Purge night, catching up with a few characters looking to avoid the evening’s events. (“Purge” movies never follow the Purgers, only those hoping not to be Purged.)

Among them are Senator Charlie Roan (“Lost’s” Elizabeth Mitchell), whose family was killed in an earlier Purge and who is now a candidate for president running on a strong anti-Purge platform; Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), returning from the previous “Purge” movie and assigned to protect Roan; and Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson), a deli owner looking to protect his store on the night in question.

There are a few good bits — a group of Purging teens rides around listening to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” while toting bedazzled machine guns; store owner Joe is price-gouged when his rates skyrocket on his “Purge insurance,” an idea that warrants further investigation — but mostly it’s more of the same from this stalled series. It’s time someone purges “The Purge.”

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

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‘The Purge: Election Year’

GRADE: C-

Rated R: for disturbing bloody violence and strong language

Running time: 105 minutes