Movie Review: The Forever Purge (2021)

Several years after the heroes of the previous film abolished the annual Purge event, the New Founding Fathers of American (NFFA) are voted back into power and reinstate the Purge, one night of the year where all crime is legal. Following their first Purge night in America, young immigrant couple, Adela (Ana del la Reguera) and Juan (Tenoch Huerta) return to work the next day only to discover that some Purgers are not content with just one night of action, and intend to continue purging forever. The couple, along with their friend T.T. (Alejandro Edda) the aid of the Tucker Family — Dylan (Josh Lucas) and his wife Cassie (Cassidy Freeman), Harper (Leven Rambin) and family patriarch, Caleb (Will Paton) — the group seeks to survive what is being dubbed The Forever Purge. This fifth film in the franchise was directed by Everaro Gout, and written by series mainstay James DeMonaco.

+ the main group of characters was fine, but none truly standout in the way Elizabeth Mitchell and especially Frank Grillo did in the second and third films. The core cast of over a half-dozen (I’m being vague for spoiler reasons) gives little time to get attached to anyone in particular. This is still a positive overall, however, as I didn’t hate any of the characters the way I did in the previous film
+ I fully admit the awkwardness of saying this, but I think my favourite character was a restrained neo-Nazi, who really stole the show in his single scene as an unhinged gun lover. Actor Edward Gelhous has previously played at least a half dozen “Skinhead”, “Neo-Nazi” or “White Supremacist” roles according to this IMDb, so I guess practice makes perfect?
+ tonally, the movie feels more like a zombie/post apocalyptic survival movie than the far more horror-action of the previous films; this is the first film to have action and violence take place in daylight. Moving to Texas, specifically El Paso, was a refreshing change, but realistically it had barely no effect on the plot (though I guess there were more cowboy hats than previous films)

– I was entirely unimpressed with the overtly-preachy and nonsensical “us versus them” mentality of the previous film, and it’s very similar here. The New Founding Fathers of America are basically just as intense caricature of whatever you personally feel to be “the bad side of politics”, though very clearly based on the real life Republicans. As I stated in my review of the previous film, that doesn’t even make sense, because the NFFA are explicitly not Republicans, Democrats, or any other real life party
– the best part of the previous Purge movies has been the Warriors-esque “factions” that crop up in each film; here, the antagonists are literally just ‘the bad guys’. Sure, there is some face paint and a cool mask or two, but these are never as part of a larger group of people. It’s just nameless enemies getting in our heroes’ way. Similarly, don’t let the single trap shown in the trailer trick you, the majority of the danger in the film is simple gunfire
– one side character literally just goes ‘nah I have something else to do’ and we never see them again. Very strange storytelling, and something I’ve made no secret I am not a fan of

> though it’s now impossible, I’d really have liked a movie about (or just an extended scene in) a movie which followed the day after the Purge. Cleaning up and people realising how few of their work mates are still around etc. It was only hinted at in this film, but I found it to be one of the more compelling aspects

Should you see this film: Absolutely not. The previous film was already a sign that I wasn’t a fan of where this was going, and this movie has just sealed it. If this is indeed the final film as is currently planned, then what a sad way for the franchise to go out.

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