by Ian Morton
Following on from the events of 2016’s The Purge: Election Year (2018’s The First Purge was a prequel), the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) are back in power and have reintroduced purge nights once again despite warnings that bringing back the night of chaos will not have the effect they think it will. Unlike the inner city settings of the other films, the story this time takes place in Texas, in a town close to the southern border and centres on a young migrant couple after having escaped the drug cartels of Mexico to find a better life in America only to discover that surviving purge night is one thing but surviving what comes after is something else entirely.
Not really smart enough to be considered satire but just aware enough to carry a theme, the strength of the purge films has not necessarily been its poignantly thought out social commentary but rather the lethargy of seeing exploited groups in society systematically dispatching those exploiting them and the same is true here. This time around, the theme is immigration and our story sees our protagonists having to deal with the ‘Purge Purification Force’, a group of individuals whose plight during and subsequently after the purge is to kill those considered ‘non-American’.
Unlike the other films in the franchise, The Forever Purge has an opportunity to expand on the narrative by exploring the evolution of what a purge night would turn into within a divided nation, but rather than go into this with any drama, opts for action instead. These set pieces for the most part are well executed, director Everardo Gout getting the most out of the screenplay he can in his feature film debut while a well cast Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta and Josh Lucas feel more than at home running from one situation to the next but without any context lacks the impact that could make it in any way memorable. It’s a real shame as the film deserves a louder bark given the strength of its bite, let down by a wanting screenplay.
The biggest problem with The Purge franchise is that the world the films inhabit has always been far more interesting than the actual films themselves and the same can be said once again with The Forever Purge. The things that work well make for a perfectly fine night out at the cinema with a big box of popcorn but its not something that will stick around in your memory for long.
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