REVIEW: ‘Forever Purge’ fails to outshine predecessors

This movie’s characters throw punches at each other while the script throws hamfisted commentary haymakers at the audience.

“The Forever Purge” opens by basically throwing what happened in “The Purge Election Year” out the window, as the New Founding Founders of America were voted back into office and started the annual event again. This time around, the “Purge” saga follows two couples. One is Dylan (Josh Lucas) and his pregnant wife Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman).The other is Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and Juan (Tenoch Huera), with the latter having a job at Dylan’s father’s (Will Patton) ranch.

As what’s become usual, the Purge comes and goes with both families hunkering down. However, the killing doesn’t end there. It soon becomes clear that there’s a coordinated effort by extremists to keep the Purge going for as long as it needs to in order to tear the existing country apart. Now, the two families are forced to work together to survive.

“The Purge Anarchy” followed a group of people just trying to make it through a city to safety in the midst of the Purge. “The Purge Election Year” did the same thing. And then “The First Purge” pretty much did that again.

Guess what happens in “The Forever Purge?” It’s pretty much more of the same this go round, except this time some action happens during the day, too. People are once again wearing masks, using any weapon they can get their hands on, and a group of goodhearted people are just trying to get from point A to point B.

It’s certainly a formula that can work. “Anarchy” was the peak for this franchise and 2015’s “No Escape” did the scenario pretty well, too. However, the whole purge concept itself is just starting to feel too recycled.

To be fair, “Forever Purge” does offer a bit of a turn by having the whole thing turn to chaos, to the point where the military has to be brought in. However, this aspect isn’t the focus, when it really should’ve been.

Courtesy Platinum Dunes, Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures.

Going from a home invasion horror, to a survival action thriller and then finally going to an all out war flick would be a good evolution for this series.

Instead, “Forever Purge” goes through the same storytelling devices as usual. It doesn’t help that the movie’s social commentary is way too on the nose either.

The movie takes jabs at extremist violence and it touches on matters related to the United States-Mexico border. Yet it all feels so surface level that it comes off as inauthentic, it doesn’t carry any weight.

The characters themselves are pretty generic. While having keys to a ranch, Dylan is less rugged than Juan and there’s a bit of resentment there. Additionally, Dylan has some prejudices, too, which obviously play a factor while the two work together.

It helps that none of the protagonists are annoying and it’s definitely a positive that they make good decisions regularly. Having characters in these types of films constantly do the wrong thing can get tiresome. Yet they’re not all that memorable, either.

On another note, while “Forever Purge” recycles some of its elements from past films, one thing it doesn’t do much of is feature horror moments. There are a few jump scares here and there that don’t have much of a payoff and a couple creepy masks. That’s it.

As for the action, there are actually a couple solid shootout sequences, especially when it comes to the final battle scene. It surprisingly doesn’t get as bloody as you would expect, and the kills aren’t particularly memorable, but as entertainment value goes, there’s enough here to not be bored.

Fans of what the “Purge” series has been doing should be able to enjoy this one, as should fans of the action genre. It is becoming apparent, though, that this series has run its course. Regardless, it should be on a streaming service, rather than rushing out to theaters. 2.75 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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