“Does this translate, pendejo?”
Story: Well’p after the possibility of a happy ending in Election Year, the usual gang of haters and ignoramuses decide that Those People Crossing The Borders require the Founding Fathers of America – and their yearly Purge – to come back. However, once 7am hits and things go back to “normal”? Well, there’s no normal anymore, as groups of heavily armed nutters Make America Bloodsoaked Again.
Genre I’d put it in: Movies Scary Because They’re Too Close To Real Possibilities
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: The fifth film of the Purge series. Chronologically, these events happen immediately after Purge Election Year.
Gotta Say: Damn y’all. All in all, I enjoy this series. It’s heavy-handed in its messaging, but watching the FFA baddies get taken down is always a good time. But after a group of insane nutters stormed the Capitol building and called it “patriotism” [*coughBULLSHITcough*]? Seeing groups of heavily armed asshats gunning down people in the streets shouting Purge Forever After? It feels like a step some “Americans” could consider taking. If they haven’t already thought of it, that is. In fact, I’d say that watching Forever could be a litmus test; if a viewer applauds the bad guys? Well, yeah.
Forever starts with catching folks up on the state of this alt-universe USA, and how many Americans are upset by the “flood” of immigrants coming to America. That’s what brings evil back into power, and how the Purge gets started. And, thanks to the more rabid fear-mongers, how the Purge continues. From there, it descends into blood-soaked anarchy ala the other films in the series, with groups of folks who are trying to save other people and/or just stay alive hiding as best they can. I can’t help but think it’s like looking at our country through a wobbly mirror.
Not that the first group of bad guys don’t have a point, albeit a wobbly one they use to prop up an agenda that’s spiraled out of control. At the start, a group of Forever Purgers say they’re sick of the rich taking and taking, while they get nowhere. But as another character reminds them, the Purge was started by rich white guys aiming to maintain the status quo. The poor/disenfranchised who buy in and become Forever Purgers are just being used. Hmm…poor folks who are being led down the garden path by someone who could care less about them. Sounds familiar, don’t it?
As you might guess, messages drop like anvils in this screenplay. However, with this series the action is all so batshit and the plot so threadbare (survive y’all), I’ll give thematic strong-arming a pass. It’s just more extra added to all the other extra. My favorite bit of extra? A character drops their gun on the US side of the US/Mexico border, and the gun goes CLANK for extra emphasis, as they walk into Mexico. The film’s messages of coming together and treating everyone well are probably preaching to the choir, as I can’t imagine haters are gonna head to a film when previous entries have shown to be strongly liberal/progressive. (Though maybe they’d catch a sympathetic feeling or two. That’d be nice.) Immigration, economic injustice, and the folly of trying to sanction violence; it’s all here again, with slightly different spins. Here it’s Mexican Americans and First Nation people who are getting the majority of the ire during the Purge and its continuance, and these folks are the ones to help out the hapless YTs.
The cast is extremely talented, as tends to be the case with these films. Blumhouse does pack these films with performers who really dig into their roles, and I respect the hell out of that. And as per usual, it’s a small-ish group of characters that lead us through Purge Forever After. Adela and Juan (Ana de la Reguera and Tenoch Huerta) are immigrants who are experiencing their first Purge. Wil Patton, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman and Leven Rambin are a family of wealthy ranchers who employ Juan. Naturally their worlds collide as things to pear-shaped. Or rather, gun-shaped. Time to dodge bullets!
As compelling as this film’s action and basic ideas are, and as beautifully shot and staged everything is – seriously, those wide shots are gorgeous – I don’t think I could stomach watching this again. At least not right now. It’s way too close to what the USA could come to after the last few years of absolute crazy. Perhaps in a few years, if our country pulls away from pulling itself apart, I’ll be able to enjoy it for the frenetic anxiety ride it is. Fingers crossed.
#Protip: When a group trying to survive the new “normal” walks through a movie theater, footage of the 1931 Dracula is playing. But while the crypt scene is shown, the dialogue is from earlier in that film. Why yes, I am a horror nerd. So nice of you to notice.