Action Blu-ray Review

'The Purge: Election Year' Blu-ray Review: Horror sequel paints an entertaining portrait of America's grim future

October 4, 2016Ben MK

We live in a world where Donald Trump stands a very real chance of being elected the next President of the United States. So, should we be surprised that there's a new Purge movie? Like the recently-deceased Paranormal Activity franchise, the series has become a regular tradition. And this year, it's getting especially topical, with a politically-themed story and, of course, lots and lots of killing.

Picking up two years after the bloody events of The Purge: Anarchy, The Purge: Election Year follows Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo, reprising his role), who's gone from a revenge-seeking former cop to a full-on Federal employee. As the head of security for U.S. Presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), it's Leo's job to protect the controversial, underdog Senator from her many enemies. And, of course, those enemies just can't wait for Purge Night to roll around, so that they can brutally execute Charlie without any legal consequences whatsoever.

There is, however, a growing subset of the population who oppose the Purge and everything it stands for. Among them, Charlie, whose anti-Purge campaign platform has made her public enemy number one for the New Founding Fathers themselves. As a result, Charlie and Leo find themselves driven onto the streets and forced to evade a government-sanctioned death squad on Purge Night. Luckily, they also cross paths with a trio of like-minded citizens (Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria and Betty Gabriel), and together they take the fight right to the top.

Shifting the backdrop from L.A. to Washington, D.C., writer/director James DeMonaco delivers the next logical evolution in the franchise. And in the end, The Purge: Election Year proves surprisingly substantial for what it is, taking what could have been an excuse for gratuitous violence and churning it into a darkly satirical social commentary. Granted, the movie isn't perfect. But for the third film in a series that began as little more than a high-concept siege picture, The Purge: Election Year makes a good case for why it deserves moviegoers' votes.

The Purge: Election Year debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer that holds true to the film's theatrical presentation. Matching the way the movie looked on the big screen, picture quality here is very film-like, exhibiting a medium degree of grain and an excellent level of fine detail. Moreover, the image is also fairly high contrast, boasting deep black levels and no visible crush, while color saturation appears robust, from the red of spilt blood to the orange, blue and green hues that accompany nighttime scenes. As for the movie's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix, dialogue is highly intelligible throughout, backed by the jarring sounds of terrified screams and maniacal cackling, not to mention the sounds of gunshots, ricocheting bullets, and even chainsaws.

Universal's two-disc Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (8:05) - Seven scenes ("Security Prep," "Senator Roan's Home," "Purge Montage," "Romantics," "Partners," "The Triage Van" and "Searching for the Senator").
  • Inside The Purge (5:31) - A look at the storylines and themes of The Purge: Election Year and how it mirrors what's happening in society today, as well as a bit about James DeMonaco as a director and the film's crazy, gory violence.
  • Character Spotlight: Leo (3:34) - A piece about Frank Grillo's character, his evolution from The Purge: Anarchy, and the challenges he faces in The Purge: Election Year, including a look at the stunt work and the weapons.

The Purge: Election Year is available from Universal Studios Home Entertainment as of October 4th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish and French DTS 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 49 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on July 1st, 2016.

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