One of my favorite movie franchises releases its fifth and supposed final film in Universal Pictures, The Forever Purge. Everardo Gout directs The Forever Purge while James DeMonaco, the creator of the Purge franchise, returns for scripting duties. The latest entry picks up almost a decade after The Purge: Election Year.
Two terms following the election of Charlene Roan (a character in Election Year), the New Founding Fathers of America have regained control of the U.S. government and reinstituted the annual purge with its original rules. The film then introduces us to our lead characters Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera). The two are married immigrants from Mexico who live the best life they can in America after crossing the border.
Adela works in the food industry while Juan works as a farmhand at the Tucker ranch. Juan is good at his job and is cordial with the Tucker family. The members of the family include patriarch Kirk (Will Patton), his daughter Harper (Leven Rambin), son Dylan (Josh Lucas), and Dylan's pregnant wife Cassie (Cassidy Freeman). One day, Juan one-ups Dylan in dealings with a horse, which adds to Dylan's personal ill feelings towards Mexicans.
The annual Purge commences as usual, and the Tucker family and Juan and Adela survive the night. However, a sadistic group of Purgers wants to continue with the chaotic behavior with something they call the "Ever After Purge." This action forces the Tucker family to team up with Juan and Adela on a journey across El Paso to reach the Mexican border. It is only open for the next six hours.
One of the things I loved about The First Purge was the decision to have minority protagonists. I enjoyed Frank Grillo's Leo Barnes in the second and third films. There was something special about Y'lan Noel as Dmitri Cimber kicking all kinds of ass in the last movie. While I hoped that Noel's and Grillo's character would return in some capacity, Tenoch Huerta fills the void pretty well. I've never seen the actor's work on Narcos: Mexico. But he impressed me enough that I look forward to his rumored role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Following her scene-stealing work in Army of the Dead, Ana De La Reguera is back on the screen kicking ass. The film never portrays her character as a victim. Instead, she's a fast thinker who can hold her own with the boy's club and will fight to the death. The rest of the cast in the film is well written. Kudos to James DeMonaco for never characterizing Josh Lucas's Dylan as a full-on bigot, but instead just as a man out of touch.
In addition to the omission of returning characters, the only other minor gripe I had with The Forever Purge was the under the characterization of our primary antagonist. While his initial movement is clear, I just wanted some more fleshing out. With the ending of The Purge: Election Year back in 2016, the franchise could have ended there. However, two years later, The First Purge arrived in theaters and became the series highest grosser.
Thus, a new entry was all but inevitable, which is fine for fans of the series, and I recommend the film for action fans. Purge creator James DeMonaco makes a bold move with his latest entry which easily focuses on white rage.
Sitting in the film with my family, I thought of conspiracy theories and, to a lesser extent, the events of January 6th, 2021. That said, The Forever Purge will ruffle some feathers and may be seen as fake Hollywood wokeness. However, as Albert Camus once said, "Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth."
Final Grade: B
The Forever Purge opens in theaters tonight, July 1st