Review: 'The Forever Purge' misses the mark
Courtesy of Universal
One of the most inconsistent series is supposedly ending in Everardo Gout’s “The Forever Purge,” the 5th outing in James DeMonaco’s dormant franchise. The entire premise, where a political party dubbed the “New Founding Fathers” crafted an American holiday called the Purge where, for one night each year, all crime, including murder, is legal, has always been fascinating, but seldom did any of the films reach their full potential (save for maybe “Election Year” which managed a decent commentary at the height of 2016’s uncertain presidential race). “The Forever Purge” tries to coax the same topical and timely debates its predecessors preached, but ends up biting off more than it can chew,
especially in the wake of the January 6th insurrection.
A disturbing exercise that hits awfully close to home with hot button topics of immigration and the political ecosystem, “The Forever Purge” envisions the reckless night of lawless mayhem as a 24/7 cycle. It’s not just one night. It’s forever, get it? The wink and nod references to everyday societal issues, and a group dubbed “Ever Afters” (obviously referencing the alt-right hate group Proud Boys) and their vengeful quest to purge the earth of anyone who has a different skin tone, doesn’t say anything we haven’t already heard, but instead propagates violence towards the Hispanic community in a truly distasteful way rather than open a dialogue.
As far as the plot goes, “The Forever Purge” throws an emphasis on Mexican couple Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera) who fled across the border to escape cartels and now live peacefully in Texas. Despite both being contributing/outstanding members in their community, he a local rancher and she managing a restaurant, Juan catches glares and the judgement of his racist boss Dylan (Josh Lucas). But they’ll have to set aside their ideological differences to survive once all hell breaks loose and maniacs begin slaughtering for sport. Lucky for the group, consisting of Juan’s pal (Alejandro Edda), Dylan’s sister (Leven Rambin) and his pregnant wife (Cassidy Freeman), Mexico has opened their borders as America undergoes martial law to combat relentless purgers. From here, the stage is set for a race against the clock thriller with obligatory, knife welding baddies on motorcycles trying to stand in the squad’s way.
Except none of the proceedings are entertaining nor reach the creative highs of its predecessors. That’s a low bar to clear, I know, but Gout directs serviceable, tight action sequences amid the chaos to suggest, “The Forever Purge” might have cleared a few more hurdles, yet feels like several movies cobbled together. Some standout performances aren’t enough to wash away (or justify) several, questionable, violent scenes targeted at minorities. We come to watch a movie like “The Forever Purge” for a different kind of escape, not to be reminded of the legitimate horrors that are eerily prevalent today. The filmmakers and everyone involved should’ve read the room.
THE FOREVER PURGE is now playing in theaters.