Well, isn’t this a surprise for me. Truth is, out of all the Purge films, the only other one I’ve seen is The Purge: Election Year, and I gave that one a C-. I did enjoy its story conflicts of the best way to win an election, I appreciated the plot involving the possibility of the annual Purge ending, and I did care about what was going to happen, but that was all severely undermined by being…well, silly. It was unable to decide if it wanted to be serious about political commentary or satirical of it, so they went for the bad combination of both. Someone shrugs off getting shot in the ear like the prick of a needle, and after someone is run over, that person’s friends spend that time still trying to get into a wall right next to the truck even though they could hear it. The driver has ten seconds of recovery before getting out and shooting them all, still in those positions, unaware of what was happening. So, yeah. It was a movie with good subject matter, but still ridiculous. Well, the only thing that’s ridiculous about this hauntingly bloody film is how much hate the purgers…no, make that terrorists, have rooted in their falsely educated ideologies, and that ridiculousness is translating into sadly familiar action here.
Something I picked up on instantly when I first got indoctrinated in this film series was the fact a certain group of high-up people were exempt from the yearly 12-hour night of all crime, including murder, being legal. Rhys Wakefield, the actor who played the leader of the trespassing gang in the first movie from 2013, said at the time he didn’t really believe something like this would actually really happen, but with its political commentary about certain people needing to blow off their steam and hatred, and with enough monstrous people in power, it might be a different story. Well, the last movie, or at least the last one if we’re talking time periods, involved a new president who disbanded The Purge, theoretically ending the tradition. Well, eight years later, the NFFA, or National Founding Fathers of America, have risen back into power, and the first purge in a long time takes place.
Well, there’s a group called Forever After. We get a glimpse of them doing things during the Purge I actually can’t really type here. Just thinking about what we see them do, and hear them do, is enough to make me puke in fury and misery. But the purge ends. Or the regulated one anyway. Things seem to get back to normal, and people begin turning off their security systems and putting away their guns. The logic of the annual purge was to satisfy people’s need for bloodlust one night and thereby getting rid of the desire for other crime throughout the year. This year, it’s to be very different. Forever After has declared The Forever Purge, deciding they have the weapons, supporters, and passion to make their country forever a world where no one of a different skin colour or culture than them will ever exist in their little poisonous garden of Eden. If officers want to try to get in their way and not stand with them, they will be dealt with maybe even worse than what they would call “the rat infestations of outside aliens”. We follow a band of survivors forced to team up to try to escape somewhere this new mob can’t catch them. But even if they find a safe place, is it really safe if it’s in America?
So, that’s my synopsis. And you know? This concept is believable. Even if opposers of this extremist group had the right to fight back, hate groups being allowed to kill can turn some people very egotistical and scheming. The more I think about it, with the Purge back, it was only a matter of time before someone abused the concept. I bought the idea of people wanting to take The Purge to the next level. Especially with the most powerful classes having been exempt from the Purge, displaying both a value pyramid with the whites on top and everyone else on the chopping block and a sense of immunity that might not actually be there in the books but is in the rules you pick up on in the land, of murders being taken way more seriously when it’s a particular race that’s more victimized. So, the idea is one thing. Executing it is another, and The Forever Purge is the fourth sequel in the franchise, but doesn’t feel like one. It feels like it’s on a mission, boiling with dialogue like this that you often hear on internet forums from people behind masks, often saying stuff they wished they could say out loud without the fear of backlash.
“We won’t stop until this great nation is fully cleansed!” “Look what we have here. Two of us and two of them. That’s what’s wrong with this stained country.” “I believe whites and blacks, every group, should just leave one another alone. Stay with just our groups.”
And actually, that last quote was from a protagonist of this film, and it got me thinking how much I disagree with that and why someone would have that thought of mind. Does he think anyone from a different country has a way of life that’s conflicting and demands change that just won’t happen because not enough would agree?
Whichever way, this is exactly what I wanted from a concept like The Purge, a story with people targeted in the media as takers and stealers just trying to survive the worst of humanity, with anger at the fact that even if the recognition and de-antagonizing of groups has gotten much better than in past decades, there are still an alarming number of people who want to chase a dream of being on top of the world while everyone else is starving or dead. Yeah, this movie is very political, but that’s only because people have chosen to politicize the humanitarian rights of innocent people, and it knows what gets us angry and stirring.
Two things I will criticize. Not quite enough time is made for us to fall in love with the characters enough to have their names ingrained in us. I was sometimes following along knowing half of these characters only by their faces. The characters have our sympathy but most don’t last in our hearts, a main reason why I didn’t really include character names in my synopsis. The second one is during the third act, when the heroes are surrounded by the terrorists, and they’re being shot at from behind a van, they escaped, and it was unclear how. Did they run from behind the cover? That’s probably it, but it left me confused.
But anyway, this is a very well-timed movie. Filming wrapped just before COVID hit, so the January 6 insurrection obviously hadn’t happened yet, but the antagonists of this story are the perfect example of how alt-right extremists, in not just America but worldwide, have for too long been able to not be represented as bad people in the media and be let out with a slap on the wrists. The Forever Purge is a true kick in the balls to those saying racism doesn’t exist in America and that Black Lives Matter is an organization of hate. Because those people are the bad guys here, and it’s about time they’re given the spotlight they deserve. I’m going to now watch the rest of the Purge movies. Even if I’m late, I’m now invested in this franchise. What can I say? I guess I get enthusiastic when a movie discusses themes I agree are important in the world.