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Uncle Sam won't take "no" for an answer this time.
"We will now purge. We will torture you and violate your flesh. Remove your skin and share in your blood. This is the American way."
Uncle Sam
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The Purge: Election Year is the third film in The Purge series. Set seventeen years after the previous film, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is now head of security for U.S. Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), who is running for President with a pledge to eliminate the Purge. The New Founding Fathers want to prevent this, and plan to have her assassinated on the Purge night before the election.

It was released on July 1, 2016. A trailer can be seen here.


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Trope and Purify!

  • Affably Evil: Danzinger. Sure, he and his men are politically incorrect neo-Nazis, but he's also A Father to His Men who orders medical treatment for a severely injured but alive one, becomes enraged when he learns that two of his men are ambushed and killed, and it's even slightly hinted that, despite his racism, he's something of a Punch-Clock Villain who doesn't seem to like the Purge all that much.
  • Amoral Afrikaner: One of the murder tourists arriving in the airport in the beginning of the movie is a white South African. Although since he seems to be traveling with a group of friends that include blacks, he may just be a straight up psycho rather than the stereotypical prejudiced white Afrikaner.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • Election Day has been moved from November to May, which would require unprecedented control over all three branches of government by the New Founding Fathers. Of course, the Purge would be even harder to implement, and they managed that, so changing Election Day is small potatoes by comparison.
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    • The Purge was passed by Constitutional Amendment (confirmed in promotional materials, plus no other means would be legally feasible). A Constitutional Amendment can only be repealed by another Constitutional Amendment, which requires control of Congress and a 2/3 majority of State Legislatures. The President, while having some ability to get creative with interpreting the law, has absolutely no power to repeal a Constitutional Amendment via Executive Action, and attempting to do so would be the most blatant grounds for Impeachment in the history of the Republic. Of course, it's still possible that pragmatism (e.g., the economic and social cons of the Purge having vastly exceeded its pros) and self-preservation (e.g., fear of the resistance simply continuing to exploit the Purge to kill all of its supporters) will persuade enough officials to support Roan's efforts — regardless of party lines — anyway. Furthermore, given the apparent ease with the NFFA change the conditions of the Purge, Roan might be able to hamstring the entire thing with onerous rules.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • While most of the NFFA are just corrupt and racist as hell, Minister Owens, their chosen candidate for President, is fucking insane. He is dedicated to the Purge as a means of purification, slaughtering multitudes of victims in his church during a 'Purge Mass' every Purge. When everything is going to hell, Owens is noticeably praying and babbling psychotically while bullets fly around him.
    • Kimmy, the leader of the Teenage Purgers. She tried to kill a man solely because he prevented her from shoplifting earlier and mentions that she'd killed her own parents.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Minister Edwidge Owens, the NFFA candidate for the election, and Caleb Warrens, the leader of the NFFA.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Joe and Marcos saving Leo and Roan from a group of Russian Purgers, Laney and Dawn saving the group from Kimmy and her Purgers, and Marcos shooting Warrens in the head just as he is about to slit Roan's throat.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Roan and Barnes both survive, Roan is a shoo-in to win the election and the Purge looks like it will be outlawed, but Dante, Joe and many other innocent people are dead and numerous violent protests are breaking out because of those people who want the Purge to continue, showing that the NFFA have left their mark and it will be a long time before America can get back to "normal." The film ends with an ominous shot of the American flag.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: The shoplifting girls show up during the Purge wearing bloodstained prom dresses to get revenge for being caught. All of them are killed by Laney, either run down or shot, in a scene played for Black Comedy.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: The climax takes place at an NFFA church.
  • The Brute: Danzinger functions as scarily effective muscle for the NFFA, and is the only member of his militia to be able to square off with Leo in a straight one on one.
  • Call-Back: The flowers in the NFFA church are of the same type that James Sandin places on his car dashboard (in the first film) as a show of support for Purge Night.
  • Commie Nazis: Purgers in the film tend to represent several facets of political evil. The New Founding Fathers use a gang of neo-Nazis as thugs, gangs fly Confederate flags, while the "murder tourists" are mostly Russians. The American purgers themselves mostly act like hedonists as well.
  • Composite Character: Both the Senator and the Minister seem to be this for contemporary political figures. This is presumably because the primaries were still going on when the film was in production. The Senator seems to be a composite of Hillary Clinton (female Senator with a long history in politics), and Bernie Sanders (independent seen as challenging the political establishment), and the Minister seems to borrow elements of Donald Trump (has apparently never held elected office before running for President) and Ted Cruz (religious zealot).
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Evil example, with many Purgers being foreign "murder tourists". They go so far as to wear specialized Purge masks with an American theme, making them look like demonic versions of Uncle Sam, the Statue of Liberty, and Abraham Lincoln.
  • Cruel Mercy: Owens eggs Dante to kill him to participate in the Purge and making him a martyr for it; however, Dante instead spares Owens and Roan beats him in the election at the end of the film.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Leo vs. Danzinger has Leo claim the advantage and utterly crush his opponent despite having been injured earlier that night.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Kimmy, the leader of the teenage girl purgers, antagonized Joe's store just because he prevented her from stealing a candy bar. This goes Up to Eleven on Purge Night as she mentions when she breaks into the store, she will not only take her candy bar but kill everyone in the store and set it ablaze! Did we mention she killed her parents?
  • Dissonant Serenity: Harmon James, Owens' right hand man, rarely registers any emotion and seems almost disturbingly empty, except when he commits the first Purging of the Mass.
  • Don't Create a Martyr: Roan argues against assassinating Owens because it would just make a martyr of them, while her beating him in a fair election sends a much more important message. The other NFFA leaders, on the other hand, lose a few members in the fight to protect Roan.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The protagonists ally with the Crips since even they think the NFFA has gone full psycho. Even their initial, scary intro is just them seeking help after their leader's son is badly injured and them asking for the boy to be saved. Though it's questionable how it might have turned out had Joe not been an ex-member and able to get both sides talking.
  • Evil Foreigner: The murder tourists, who come to America from places such as Russia to do illegal stuff on Purge night because they can't do it in their own country. One wonders if the foreign governments allow murder tourism in USA to flourish if it means getting rid of their own psychopaths. They're all gunned down by Joe and Marcos.
  • Faceless Mooks: Danzinger's Neo Nazi army all have their faces covered with shark teeth bandannas and sunglasses. Subverted when a few like Danzinger take them off.
  • False Rape Accusation: The leader of the teenage girl purgers, the day before the Purge, is caught trying to steal a candy bar and threatens to yell rape if the shop keeper lays so much as a hand on her (apparently either not knowing or not caring that she's on the security cameras). She's finally forced to give the candy bar back when confronted by Laney.
  • Girls Love Chocolate: One of the rampaging girls is participating in the purge just because she is seeking revenge for being denied a candy bar for free.
  • Government Conspiracy: The New Founding Fathers plot Senator Roan's assassination, even revoking the rule protecting government officials just to get to her. It ends up backfiring on them. May not qualify as a true "conspiracy," however, since revoking the protection was public knowledge, and politicians routinely dress up political maneuvers in egalitarian language everyone can see through.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In an effort to deflect criticism that the Purge is meant to Kill the Poor, the NFFA removes the restriction on who can be killed during the Purge, rendering themselves fair game. While this is meant to make Roan a target, almost all of them die when rebels see it as a good opportunity to take them out.
    • Invoking this against everyone in charge of the Purge themselves has been the rebels' M.O. since day one.
  • Honor Before Reason: Roan grabs the Idiot Ball several times in the movie to appeal herself to voters. She insists on waiting the Purge out in her not-so-secure brownstone apartment so she appears just like her constituents, ignoring Barnes' advice. Later, she pleads for Owens to be spared, as she believes an honest election will be better received. He double crosses her quickly, but she proceeds to kick his ass come Election Day.
  • Hypocrite: Zig-zagged with Minister Owens. He insists that he and his congregation aren't hypocrites because they purge, too, but his first victim is a supposed volunteer who obviously isn't as willing as Owens paints him, and all the victims are strapped down so they won't be a threat. However, when Owens is on the wrong end of the purge, he embraces it, showing he does truly believe in the Purge.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • It's debatable if the New Founding Fathers can be seen as this as they revoked the rule that protects them on Purge night just to assassinate Senator Roan. This ends up getting them killed. Although it's possible they bet on their higher security being enough to protect them.
    • One of the obstacles the heroes have to deal with only happens because Leo Barnes, while guarding a presidential candidate, wasn't wearing a bulletproof vest, despite the fact that he had one prepared for Charlie.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Roan says as much after the Resistance captures Owen and prepares to execute him. Dante doesn't really believe her, but he lets Owens go regardless.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Caleb Warrens, Leader of the New Founding Fathers who started the whole mess, is shot in the head by one of the very people he wanted the Purge to eliminate after having revoked his own protection in order to kill Senator Roan.
    • Several Neo-Nazi thugs meet their end courtesy of the Crips.
    • Those foreign Purgers get their wish to participate in the Purge. Except not really the way they wanted when the majority of them are gunned down when they try to torture Roan and Leo.
  • Knife Fight: The final fight is this at one point, with Danzinger using a Ka-BAR and Leo using a small punch dagger.
  • Large Ham: In a story that has no shortage of hammy, over the top charactors Kimmy BY FAR takes the cake. She's just a candy bar away from LITERALLY chewing the scenery!
  • Leonine Contract: Joe's insurance company raises his Purge coverage rates to unpayable levels the day before the Purge, most likely knowing he can't pay and thus they won't have to cover any damages.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The Crips gang, who help out the protagonists against the NFFA forces, but mostly likely because Joe was a former member and they needed help for their leader's injured son.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Like the previous films, Purgers love their masks. There's even a guy selling them, calling the Purge "Halloween for adults." The foreign Purgers go all out with patriotic masks, and one goes the extra mile with a neon-accented Statue of Liberty mask.
  • Monumental Damage: The Lincoln Memorial is vandalized, the word "PURGE" spray-painted on its columns.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The NFFA get too involved after they revoke their own rule; many of them don't survive, including Caleb, which ultimately leads to Roan winning in a landslide.
  • No Party Given: Naturally, neither Roan nor her rivals are given any affiliation that is a counterpart of any real ones. Roan is stated to be an Independent, and the Minister seems to represent the NFFA. The debate scene shows another woman on stage with them, but she never gets a line, and is not shown receiving any electoral votes at the end. (It's doubtful any current political party in Real Life would have sided with the New Founding Fathers in the first place.) The ending shows Roan's Electoral Votes in Blue and the Minister's in Red, the usual colors for Democrats and Republicans, respectively; whether this is a veiled subversion or a case of "red = blood" alternate symbolism is unclear.
  • Noble Demon: The Crips. Seriously. They're on the good guys' side, at least for the night, because the heroes save their leader's wounded son.
  • Obviously Evil: Danzinger and his men all wear Neo Nazi and white supremacist icons while their soldier outfits have shark teeth bandannas.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Danzinger's Neo-Nazi mercs might live up to the latter, but don't really say or do anything that lives up to the former. The lack of explicit white supremacist actions becomes REALLY jarring when you consider their main enemies for the night are people of color. Much like the Neo-Nazis in Green Room, their ideology never trespasses symbolism to only make them scarier to the audience. Given that they're mercenaries though, confusing and striking fear into your target works in their favor.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: All of them. While the NFFA hates the underclass, they clearly associate this label with African-Americans and Hispanics too and Owen's congregation shows hints of homophobia. Danzinger, head of the mercenaries contracted by the NFFA, also has white power tattoos and wears a Confederate flag patch on his uniform. Roan's allies are mostly minorities and portrayed as good people; Joe (who has pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass hanging on his wall) is a noble, selfless entrepreneur preyed upon by predatory insurers although he has a past as a Crips member, Marcos is a Mexican immigrant trying to achieve The American Dream through hard work.
  • Rank Up: If Leo was even employed in the last film, he's gone from that to head of security for a U.S. senator.
  • Rasputinian Death: Danzinger is sliced and stabbed multiple times, has his face slashed open and then has Leo plant a knife between his shoulder blades. Then Leo kicks him in the face to make sure when he goes down he stays down.
  • Reformed Criminal: Both Laney and Joe are reformed gangbangers (Joe was a member of the Crips), while Marcos is heavily implied to have done whatever he needed to do to survive in Mexico City.
  • Religion of Evil: The religious aspect of the Purge is expanded on here. The NFFA candidate is a minister who holds a Purge Mass to cleanse the souls of his congregation. Although he mentions Jesus at point, he doesn't seem to be a Christian as he refers to Christians with a "they". The religion seems like an inversion of Christianity in a way as Owens notes, by sacrificing others for yourself.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: The NFFA want Roan dead because she stands a good chance of getting elected President, where she'll be in the right position to abolish The Purge.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Kimmy the shoplifter says that she killed her parents. She doesn't get to live long enough for the consequences to matter.
  • Sinister Minister: Owens, Roan's opponent and a mouthpiece for the NFFA, is an insane pastor whose contribution to the Purge includes a midnight "Purge Mass" where he carts out ritual sacrifices before the Virgin Mary and instructs his flock to "Purge and Purify."
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: One Purger brings his own Purge mix on an iPod, featuring T. Rex's "20th Century Boy" and Parliament's "Give Up the Funk". The schoolgirl Purgers dance to Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" while threatening the deli.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Owens gleefully encourages Dante to kill him and participate in the Purge when held at gunpoint. Naturally, Dante refuses to go through with it.
  • Take That!: The film's marketing is not being subtle in its shots at Donald Trump. The film's tagline, "Keep America Great," is a clear jab at Trump's 2016 campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." A later trailer says that this Purge trumps them all. (Not to mention that the heroine and Designated Victim here is a blonde, female Presidential candidate.)
  • Taking the Bullet: Joe does this for Roan.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Kimmy and her friends are a group of psychotic teenage purgers who think not being allowed to shoplift a candy bar is justification to burn the store down and murder the owner come Purge night. For bonus points, Kimmy even brags she murdered her own parents. She thankfully gets run over and shotgunned without remorse.
  • Tempting Fate: Kimmy is just asking to get purged with her constant bragging about she can do what she wants on Purge night. Laney obliges.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Danzinger and his men all wear Nazi icons and Danzinger has white supremacist tattoos. Interestingly, they don't ever actually do anything explicitly Nazish other than being all white, acting as a regular hired paramilitary force, so it's possible the icons may be around to fuck with targets or to conceal who they actually work for in the event of word getting out about their actions. Regardless, it's very satisfying when two of them are gunned down by the black Crips gang.
  • Time Skip:
  • Tracking Device: The bullets used in the raid on Roan's house have tracking devices. One gets stuck in Leo's shoulder and allows the mercs to track him until they figure it out and use it as a trap.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: Darkly parodied on the film poster, which shows Sam with an assault rifle and a face resembling a Purger's mask.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Justified. Leo gets shot in the shoulder and doesn't try to have it removed until he figures out the kill squad are using it to track them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dante Bishop and the resistance fight back against the government by using the Purge to legally target as many high-ranking officials as they can, and plan on eliminating Minister Owens so Roan can win the election unopposed and stop the Purge.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Carmelo. The movie never states exactly what happened to Carmelo in order for Dante to need to step up and take his place as the head of The Resistance. He was mentioned as Dante's predecessor in a news broadcast, but that's about it.
    • NFFA member Donald Talbot, who appeared in Anarchy, is never seen or mentioned in this installment.
  • World Building: We finally get to figure out what is happening in the world outside of USA in this universe, but it's pretty insidious. Basically, psychos from countries around the world flock to the USA on Purge night to take part in illegal activities. On the bright side, it at least implies the other nations haven't implemented a similar policy.

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