We're In This Together: The Forever Purge (2021) - Reviewed

image courtesy Universal Pictures

The Purge franchise returns to cinemas three years later for another horrific jaunt through the dreaded American landscape as its citizens tear each other to fine shreds amidst another night of unrelenting violence and mayhem.  

This fifth horrific entry heads to the streets of Texas, again fully abandoning the claustrophobic feel of the excellent first movie. Armed to the teeth with an arsenal that's dripping with slanted political commentary, the franchise finds itself in the midst of a war between blood thirsty citizens and their would be victims as it continues to set its focus on racial stereotypes and boilerplate characters with little to no development. 

This time, the celebrants of the yearly Purge decide that they're extending the one night affair to a full on war against anyone they've deemed not pure. And they will not stop purging at dawn. When the military intercedes, it devolves into a full on riot that spans the entirety of the United States as the "forever Purge" begins to sweep the nation. While the movie does exist in this same repetitive loop as the last few of the sequels, it relies heavily on a cast that features a reinvigorated Josh Lucas, the always amazing Ana de la Reguera, the excellent Will Patton and numerous others that really do a phenomenal job with a script that lies well below their talent level. 

Taking most of its cues from the right versus left media and social  narrative, it unloads into a plot about a national cleansing of minorities and those defined as weak. The Forever Purge is a nasty reflection of current times that exploits the daily news cycle and all victims of hate. It also takes deep digs at each side of the spectrum, while abandoning nearly all intelligence at the door. Sadly enough, the themes themselves are much smarter than the finished product from a director that has done much better work in the past. Also, the message is rather confused. In a movie that attempts to show the negative effects of violence, it certainly continues to celebrate divisiveness and bloodshed while amplifying the tensions we feel daily as a nation. 

However, of the sequels so far, this one is the most centered. It's a grueling film that definitely ups the tension when needed and splits away to some messages about familial responsibilities and the bond of friendship. The characters are likable and have some relative amount of humanity that does speak directly to its audience. Yet, this really has come a long way from the horror roots of the original. These continue to dive headlong into more gun play and action than the terrifying home invasion beginnings of the 2013 film. 

The Forever Purge is a must see for die hard fans of the series but might hit too close to home during the strange political climate we continue to live in. There is just enough intelligence to carry the baggage of a recurrent story that doesn't say anything this series hasn't said before. But it's at least watchable in a sense that the movie moves at a frenetic pace, taking us from one locale to the next as the world burns around the central players. 

This one definitely sets us up for the biggest sequel yet. The stage has been set.