Directed by: James Demonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell
So where has Eluzabeth Mitchell aka Juliette been since Lost? Well it appears she has been in Federal Government. As Congresswoman Charlie Roan she is determined to win the Presidency and end the yearly purge that has been a defining day in the United States for 25 years. Ywars ago she witnessed her family being murdered on a purge night.
Adding some continuity with the previous film is Paul Grillo returning in the film as Sergant. Is that his name or his rank? Is he a cop or a Secret Service agent? That part of Grillo’s charscter is unclear but his personal journey from the previous film has impacted his decisions in this film. It’s a little surprising to see a film so sgalliw in story to spend this much time to build up a character across two films.
So to be clear, and brief, this is a bad movie. The film plays on tired stereotypes and even attempts to force feed some racism in a place that makes no sense in order to simply have that uplifting redemption scene just before a moment of melodrama taken to the next level due to the redemption.
The Purge Redemption continues to further push a watered down political commentary with no real meaning or smarts. To put it simply: rich white men are beating down poor racially diverse people. There’s more real meaningful commentary in the first act of Dawn of the Dead than in this entire franchise. In a funny twist there are a few really racist scenes in the movie that are delivered by ethnic heroes. The funniest twist is that the extremely racially diverse audience I was in for this screening laughed the loudest at these scenes. This just goes to show that the every-man isn’t as offended by this kind of humor as many camera hungry people would have us believe…
Elizabeth Mitchell brings a unique calm and collected vibe to her projects that’s always appreciated. Shes also pretty damn comely in those chunky librarian glasses. Even with some really clumsy lines she does the best she can to impart emotion and meaning to her character. While that level of dedication is appreciated the movie, and the franchise, might be more successful if the actors didn’t take their characters so seriously. Frank Grillo is fine but not memorable. He doesn’t get a lot to work with though. His character, even after two films doesn’t even have a real name.
You don’t go to these films for story though; you go to them for spectacle and on that count this film delivers so much more than the previous installment. The fist film remains the best in the franchise but there’s fun to be had with this one if you truly check your brain at the door. The sociopolitical commentary is ham-fisted and plays on ridiculous stereotypes so if you find yourself easily offended by commentary you don’t agree with then stay away from this film 100%. If you love over the top 70’s and 80’s exploitation types of films and revel in crazy kills, set pieces, and costumes then you’ll have fun with parts of this film. It’s a real shame that this film couldn’t bring us a combination of thought provoking commentary and grindhouse fun. That combo would have made for something really special. What we end up with is a brainless break from reality, and sometimes that’s ok too. There are some funny moments, some hilarious costumes, and some fun kills. That’s about it, total cotton candy.