The purge is back, both on the streets of America and the big screen. As the franchise continues it sadly becomes even more a case of art imitating life.
With the New Founding Fathers back in control of the country, the annual purge recommences. Twelve hours in which everything is legal, including murder. In fact, mostly murder. The action focuses on a ranch town not too far from the Mexican border. Working as a cowboy, illegal immigrant Juan (Tenoch Huerta) rubs the boss’ son, Dylan (Josh Lucas), up the wrong way by besting him with a rowdy horse. When the purge comes around, the workers are given a bonus to help keep them safe, something a few of the farmhands take as a slight to their ‘poor’ status. The 12-hour killing spree passes without too much incident for our lead characters. That is until the following day when they discover there’s a groundswell movement that has decided the purge should last forever and are bent on using their self-imposed ‘rights’ to do away with anyone who happens to be of a different colour. Dylan - a character you’d have put money on being on the side of the renegade purge groups - has more than a few reasons to accept and follow Juan and his wife Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and change his attitudes.
While the film series has always been taking a broad swipe at American gun culture and values, The Forever Purge is even more potent following the events of January 6th. It’s now very easy to see how fast the country can devolve into all-out anarchy and the failure of Marshall Law to control the bloodthirsty masses. Add the racial incentive and the premise errs further towards troubling ground, it runs the risk of appealing to the audience it should be satirising.
This entry into the series continues to invoke fear in a ‘what if…?’ kind of way as it’s very easy to see the world (America especially but not exclusively) heading down the terrible path the films and TV series have gone. It’s still a white-knuckle thrill ride, but the sentiment is a little too close to home to be thought-free entertainment. Which is good, as violence should provoke thought. The reversal of fortune angle is predictable but handled well and, for once, we’re hoping the bad guys don’t win.
Yes, we’ve seen it all before, but sadly, it was on the news.
The Forever Purge is in cinemas now.