Even though I have never seen the first two Purges, I had a pretty good idea about what I was getting into. The commercials looked like it was going to be a stylistic violence-fest with a heaping helping of politics infused into it. I mean, when people on the commercials were glorifying the purge and then quoting Donald Trump’s campaign slogan nearly verbatim, I had an inkling that the bad guys in this movie will all have a particular political affiliation.
Now in my opinion, The Purge: Election Year does have some fun elements to it. It had enough violence and plot maneuvers to keep my interest, and most of the characters seemed like relatable people. There was nothing exceptional about any of the characters, but at least they felt somewhat authentic.
Holy crap, though, was the dialogue terrible and campy. Around the five-minute mark, I was trying to figure out if this movie wanted me to take it seriously or not, and as every second past, the answer became more and more clear. The fact that it has some semblance of self-awareness to it does help a bit, but I couldn’t help but role my eyes at the horrendously unsubtle dialogue, but hey, at least I was laughing hysterically while rolling my eyes. Like is it supposed to be serious that this old politician is saying the most out-of-place profane things over and over again at the beginning of the movie? Is the big, shirtless, muscular guy standing on the street corner supposed to be taken seriously as he’s howling about how The Purge is about survival of the fittest (and that he’s the most fit guy there)?
This is also the second movie this year (The first movie being Mother’s Day…) that I have caught having terrible dialogue dubs. Whoever edited the movie did not do that great of a job because there were multiple times where a character’s lips were moving, and they either weren’t saying anything or saying something that did not match up with their lips.
Now the stylistic choices did make this movie kind of cool, but I couldn’t help but occasionally ask myself if some of the things they did were very practical. Like there’s some psychopaths driving around in a car completely covered in Christmas lights and I wonder if that would have extraordinarily decreased their chances of survival in real life.
Now when I say that the movie made it clear what political affiliations the good guys and the bad guys were, I mean that they made it Zootopia obvious.
The vast majority of bad guys were America-loving, founding-fathers worshiping, welfare-hating, occasionally religious, Jesus-loving Republicans… And a few white supremacists, but this movie pretty much bundles them together.
Whereas most of the good guys are either immigrants, poor people, Democrats, or misunderstood black gangsters. Like the same talking points and slogans that the bad guys and good guys use in this movie are the exact same slogans I hear politicians and pundits say today. This made it excruciatingly obvious that the movie had an agenda, which is something that I like to call “Preaching to the Audience”.
This annoys the ever-loving crap out of me. I listen to politics on my downtime when I’m not watching movies, and I like to keep politics separate from every other aspect of my life (be it when I’m at work, church, or at the theatre). So when some director wants to use his platform to straw-man a political party and country, then what else can I do besides find it absolutely obnoxious?
So anyway, if you like psycho-violent movies, then maybe this one will be worth your time. Anyone who doesn’t fit into this category should obviously pick a different movie to see this week. It is an extremely unsubtle, campy, stupid movie. The fact it is trying to be stupid and plays off of its stupidity does make it slightly fun and entertaining, but as I was walking out of the theatre, I can’t really say the entertaining aspects of the movie make up for its other parts, and I’m giving this movie a 3 out of 10.