Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Forever Purge Review: Breaking The Rules And The Purge Formula

Ana de la Reguera	...	Adela Josh Lucas	Josh Lucas		 Will Patton	Will Patton		 Cassidy Freeman	Cassidy Freeman	...	Emma Kate Veronica Falcón	Veronica Falcón	...	Lydia Leven Rambin	Leven Rambin		 Tenoch Huerta	Tenoch Huerta	...	Juan Susie Abromeit	Susie Abromeit	...	Mrs. Hardin Alejandro Edda	Alejandro Edda		 Anthony Molinari	Anthony Molinari	...	Merc Antwan Eilish	Antwan Eilish	...	Chase Edward Gelhaus	Edward Gelhaus	...	Actor Brett Edwards	Brett Edwards	...	Lead Merc Sammi Rotibi	Sammi Rotibi	...	Darius Joshua Dov	Joshua Dov	...	Dalton Levay Erin Dinsmore	Erin Dinsmore	...	Conor Gregory Zaragoza	Gregory Zaragoza	...	Xavier

Release date: July 2, 2021
Running time: 102 minutes
Director: Everardo Gout
Writer: James DeMonaco
Cast: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Alejandro Edda and Will Patton

This summer, all the rules are broken as a sect of lawless marauders decides that the annual Purge does not stop at daybreak and instead should never end in The Forever Purge. Adela (Ana de la Reguera, Cowboys & Aliens) and her husband Juan (Tenoch Huerta, Days of Grace) live in Texas, where Juan is working as a ranch hand for the wealthy Tucker family. Juan impresses the Tucker patriarch, Caleb (Will Patton, Halloween), but  that fuels the jealous anger of Caleb’s son, Dylan (Josh Lucas, Ford v Ferrari).  On the morning after The Purge, a masked gang of killers attacks the Tucker family—including Dylan’s wife (Cassidy Freeman, HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones), and his sister (Leven Rambin, The Hunger Games), forcing both families to band together and fight back as the country spirals into chaos and the United States begins to disintegrate around them. 

Ana González	...	(credit only) Gary Nohealii	Gary Nohealii	...	Joaquin Patrick Millin	Patrick Millin	...	Sheriff Deputy Keenan Henson	Keenan Henson		 Jeffrey Doornbos	Jeffrey Doornbos	...	Elijah Yomary Cruz	Yomary Cruz	...	Latinx Anchor Mark Krenik	Mark Krenik	...	NFFA Soldier Carol Cantu	Carol Cantu	...	Lupita Patricio Doren	Patricio Doren	...	Coyote Kat Smith	Kat Smith		 Willow Beuoy	Willow Beuoy	...	Ally Patrick Zapata	Patrick Zapata	...	Vampire Michael Aboujaoude	Michael Aboujaoude	...	Merc #3 Scott Douglas MacLachlan	Scott Douglas MacLachlan	...	Gun Store Customer Emily Trujillo	Emily Trujillo	...	Maria Richard Allan Jones	Richard Allan Jones	...	Gun Store Owner Harrison Meloeny	Harrison Meloeny	...	Dancing Thing #2 David Fencl	David Fencl	...	Self - Machine gunner in truck
The Forever Purge is the latest movie from the Purge franchise.  The first movie was an interesting experiment in tense filmmaking and world building.  The second movie built onto that with a bigger and more deadly purge event.  However, after these initial films, the movie has been struggling to find a coherent story like in the first two.  The film's original message of violence and hypocrisy, along with a generous helping of gore porn, were diluted in the Purge: Election Year and The First Purge.  The Forever Purge tries to reignite some of the controversial and interesting topics explored by this series, with a focus on the nation's move to a more right wing, xenophobic mentality in the last four years.  Additionally, the film has a generally good setup and leads to some additional unpredictability when the participants find out that the purge is not over.

And I did like the initial characters, though they were fairly transparent.  Both Adela (de la Reguera) and Juan (Huerta) were sympathetic and mysterious.  You were rooting for them the entire time and they seemed like good, hardworking people caught up in the purge.  Caleb (Patton) was another sympathetic character, a benevolent owner who was looking out for his family and employees.  And Josh Lucas did a wonderful job playing a nice guy jerk in Ford v. Ferrari and he reprises this role as Dylan.  I love me some Josh Lucas and he won't disappoint in this movie either.  And the Purge series is all about wild characters and a wild night, and in this respect the film succeeds initially.  

However, the film just does not capture the magic that the first movies had.  Perhaps it is the very nature of The Forever Purge; by extending the Purge event beyond the first night, the film turns less into a tense survival movie into more of an action journey.  No longer are people trying to survive the night, rather they are simply trying to survive as long as they can.  And despite the forever nature of the film, the movie doesn't have us going up against an endless wave of enemies.  Rather it seems like there are a few scattered skirmishes followed by a one main group that the band faces.  It leads to a movie that is both expansive in scope, yet feels quite limited.  And this final group don't feel that unique or special; they just feel like your normal band of racist marauders.  Additionally, the plot is convoluted and the dialogue often feels manufactured.  It feels like the film was trying to get its points in regardless of whether it felt natural at the time, and especially tried to establish the racism message early and clumsily.  This leads to a movie that has the underpinnings of the original films, but doesn't feel like those originals.

The Forever Purge has some interesting ideas and a good setup, but doesn't quite manage to capture what made the first two films such an interesting and intense experience.

Rent it.

Michael Bay	...	producer Jason Blum	...	producer Marcei A. Brown	...	executive producer James DeMonaco	...	producer (p.g.a.) Andrew Form	...	producer Brad Fuller	...	producer Sébastien K. Lemercier	...	producer (p.g.a.) James Moran	...	co-producer Couper Samuelson	...	executive producer Jennifer Scudder Trent	...	co-producer Jeanette Volturno	...	executive producer
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The Forever Purge is in theaters on July 2, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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