- Directed by Everardo Gout
- July 2, 2021 (US)
What happens in America when one night of The Purge is not enough?
First off, The Forever Purge is clearly a message film. You cannot miss that. Nothing wrong with that. I do not even mind if I do not agree with the particular message being conveyed. The only request I have is that me, the viewer, is not beat over the head with that very message. I do not need a lecture for the duration.
Unfortunately they beat you with a baseball bat here Negan style. Helen Keller locked in a sensory deprivation in a bank vault in the middle of the Sahara Desert would get it. If you miss it you might not be as observant as you think. What seems to start out as appearing as a workers unite allegory quickly gives way to an allegory on immigration and racism in the United States.
The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) have taken back power in what is described as a landslide and as such they have reinstated the annual Purge. The events of this film take place the day after that first Purge.
As said earlier the story of The Forever Purge intersects with racism and immigration. And what I guess is meant to be an ironic twist as the nation collapses our central characters are forced to sneak into Mexico for safety.
One thing that I felt was poorly done was the character of Dylan Tucker (Josh Lucas) appears to be racist based on his actions towards Juan (Tenoch Huerta) when in reality his actions are driven by ignorance of Mexican culture. Huh? How does that make sense? Does anyone react like that? Who gets angry over cultural ignorance? If they were trying to subvert the expectation of racism on the part of Dylan as he was clearly portrayed then perhaps they should have gone for Dylan just not liking Juan. That happens. Sometimes personalities clash for no good reason.
The Forever Purge is just as violent and bloody as any of the other any of the previous films and is an improvement over its predecessor. That it gets right. You do not watch these for superior character development.
The Purge films work best when they are about the characters struggling to survive the night and finding themselves in ever more dangerous situations. The ticking clock idea. You can have bits of commentary but when it’s one long message it just doesn’t work as well. This is not (old) Star Trek folks. You can’t be overt with whatever message you are trying to convey in this particular fictional universe.
One thing confuses me in The Forever Purge. The bad guys that are after Dylan’s father as well as the rest of the family are on the ranch the night of The Purge. One of the bad guys even works on the ranch. What I cannot figure out is why these villains did not start what they were doing the night of The Purge and continue into the day after the after The Purge officially ended? Instead they waited until after 7 o’clock in the morning. They had an inside man that could help and did nothing with that. How does that make any sense?
The story is set in Texas which is apparently a stand in for the US. Every Caucasian is a racist or has racist tendencies. That neatly explains why they will not stop killing but does not explain how the government was caught completely off guard by the ensuing chaos. Nobody saw it coming based on the ineffective response.
And what was with Adela’s (Ana de la Reguera) boss Darius (Sammi Rotibi)? Usually if a character runs off you meet up with them later in these movies. Sometimes they come back and turns out they’re an actual bad guy or they come back and help along the other characters. But he just says he has to runoff and help his family and that’s the last you ever see of him. Why was he even introduced and made as important as he was? His only real purpose was to get Adela out of the trap.
My point is this film as a story is just badly done. So much is wasted. The message is shoved in your face rather than wrapped in a good story. This is almost as poorly executed as that Black Christmas reboot from 2019. Almost but not quite.
I will not call The Forever Purge bad. From an action and violence standpoint it’s as good as its predecessors. Its only real flaw is that it beats you senseless with its message. You shouldn’t shove the audience’s face in your message like you would the face of a pet into a pee spot on the carpet. Having said that I will give The Forever Purge a strong if you want. If you liked the other films, you’ll probably enjoy this but get irritated at the message part.