Oh, happy day. Frank Grillo is returning for The Purge 3. The Universal, Blumhouse and Platinum Dunes franchise asks the question, what would you do if you had impunity for any crime, no matter how heinous? Or more frighteningly, what would your neighbors do? How about that weird guy who won’t stop texting you? Set in a futuristic society where all crime is legal once a year for 12-hours, the series explores the reality of “love they neighbor” and poses some interesting questions about privilege and class-structure in the process.
While The Purge was more or less your standard home invasion film set to a high-concept bit of political commentary (and some fun skewering of the suburbs), The Purge: Anarchy drove the franchise in an entirely new direction. An awesome direction. The series switched gears from mediocre home invasion horror to an ass-kicking 1970s exploitation-style revenge thriller. It was a divisive choice for fans of the franchise, some of whom preferred the outright horror of the first film, but it absolutely worked for me. And it wouldn’t have worked at all without Grillo, who starred as the machismo force known only as “Sergeant” — a good guy on a nasty mission for revenge, thrust into the role of reluctant hero when he discovered a group of helpless civilians stuck outside during The Purge. Now, Variety reports that Grillo is in final negotiations to return for The Purge 3.
Frank Grillo is a gift to action fans. A wiry powerhouse who fights like he means it, Grillo is equally at home in a studio blockbuster franchise like Captain America as he is in a notoriously bare-bonea Blumhouse production. He vacillates easily between character types, playing a churlish bastard in The Grey or the same year he played the most lovable human being ever in Warrior — and no matter what character he’s playing, that character is unmistakably badass. He’s the gritty frontman we need mixing up our action landscape — a refreshing change from the manicured pretty boys leading the superhero charge. Which isn’t to say Grillo isn’t handsome, because look at his face, but there’s an everyman quality to him that harkens back to the no-nonsense leading men of yore.
Hopefully Grillo has a long and fruitful leading-man future ahead of him, but so far he’s largely been assigned to standout supporting roles. The Purge is the only film franchise that’s given him a star vehicle so far, so I’m glad he’s returning for another round. Series creator James DeMonaco is also back on board to write and direct the The Purge 3, and while there are literally limitless directions he could run with the series at this point (I’d wager we see Sergeant team up with the insurgents from Anarchy), I hope he’s planning to lean into the character he created with Grillo rather than spin out in another major tonal shift.
What direction would you like to see third film take? Are you happy to see Sergeant return? Sound off in the comments.