THE FOREVER PURGE Offers up the Series’ Final Manifesto

The Purge films have utilized their almost yearly outings to maintain a hyper relevance, by not just filling a film with 90 minutes of mayhem seemingly ripped from the headlines, but using these features to comment on current socio political issues as well. The fifth and final(?) entry The Forever Purge, which was originally due out in 2020 and hits theaters today in time for the July 4th weekend, and functions as not only a “conclusion” for the franchise, but a dig into immigration which, thanks to Trump, was the hot button issue at the time. I’ve been a long time fan of the series and while I am sad to see it go, I do think this film offers a fitting conclusion, while also leaving the audience with the final manifesto of this series.

I can’t help but say these films hit a bit different for me having lived through 2020. Residing near an urban center, I personally witnessed opportunists taking advantage of the distraction that the peaceful protests provided, to do their own looting and destruction. It wasn’t quite the Purge, but it was close enough for my liking and just cemented how close we came to this.

The Forever Purge takes place four or so years after the events of The Purge: Election Year, with the New Founding Fathers leaning heavily in to the fear and divisive nature of immigration to once again come back into power — reinstating the yearly Purge. It’s once again reinforced that the purge is more of a call to the lowest common denominator to keep the rich in power, while the poor are kept divided and kill each other off year after year. The first act gets through the 12 hour Purge almost without incident, but the next day the violence surprisingly ramps back up after those in hiding begin to clean up the carnage. The film takes place in southern Texas and has a group of Ranch owners and their Mexican American farm hands banding together and running for the Mexican border (which is closing in six hours) to escape the escalating violence in the USA, that even the New Founding Fathers can no longer control. This new “Forever Purge” as its branded by its participants is used to hunt down immigrants, minorities and just about anyone that doesn’t align with this new nihilistic ideology.

While this entry sadly doesn’t carry over any of the characters or storylines from the previous entries, that likely is by design, as to not distract from the message here. It also helps to re-shift our perspective here into Texas, where the border wall imposingly towers over those on both sides. While there’s no real break outs here performance-wise except for Will Patton, who is the tie that binds our protagonists together, the performances are a little over the top, which is par for the course for these films. While the scares and action are fairly solid, the kills and violence feel a bit scaled back this time around. But that could also be due to the subject matter causing a bit of a re-evaluation by the studio.

The Purge: Anarchy this isn’t, but it hits the spot just fine.

The Forever Purge presents a scenario where the radicalized far right eventually turn on the politicians who once stoked the fires of division for their own benefit. Given the events of January 6th, this isn’t too far from the realm of possibility. It may be the worst possible timeline, but it’s one we got dangerously too close to given the racial powder keg that Trump and the GOP didn’t disarm, resulting from the death of George Floyd. As a finale the story works with the “Forever Purge” running its course consuming the country in its fiery wake, while still leaving room for more films if James DeMonaco sees fit. I would have loved another film with Frank Grillo’s character to give some closure to his excellent turn as the Sergeant, but the grand design here is a bit more ambitious, tackling these ideas and their outcomes rather than smaller, more personal stories. I can respect that, because we really need to see that right now.

And remember, be safe, until next time.

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