Meh. That’s all the review this film deserves, so don’t hate on the people who went that route. But since I am out $20, I will elaborate to save you the same fate.
I’d say when it comes to this franchise. I’m no devotee, but I am definitely a fan. I like the films for the reason most people despise them—they have an underlying social message and moral dilemma that give the gore and guns stakes the audience can connection with.
I especially like the 2013 and 2018 films because they go out of their way to subvert tropes and give the characters an opportunity to evolve into better humans over the course of the story. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the general conceit of the disenfranchised being coerced into orchestrating their own extinction ensures diverse casting with POCs overcoming and leading the charge.
However, this film only aspires to what a couple of the others ascended to and feels like any old lame guts and guns action flick without the fun of a big star at the helm. And oh, if you’re thinking, “Will Patton is that big star, dummy!” Maybe. But, I have eight words for you: Wait for this film’s Deep Blue Sea moment.
I have a tough time figuring out what made this one so dull other than perhaps knowing the fight could go on forever took the fun out of it. Or maybe there wasn’t enough done to flesh out the us v. them conceit to make a unique statement? But more than likely, the answer is that the franchise has simply run its course since there was nothing fresh about this. We get all the same tricks—unlikely allies band together, one of them has a mysterious militia background, a rebel leader swoops in and saves the day, et cetera. Basically, don’t expect any surprises. If you think it is going to happen…it will!
The movie, is however, visually appealing, which is one of the reasons I was excited to rent it. Such a refreshing change to have the franchise set outside an urban setting. Seeing the desert, sweeping mountains, and depictions of the border wall are both breathtakingly ominous while at the same time a beautiful reminder of how pure our country can be. That is, until they ruin it with the El Paso city scenes. Once the characters take to the ground, it looks like they step into one of the overly fogged fearscapes you find at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights complete with annoyingly shaky camera work that highlights this fact.
For those who care, this definitely falls at or near the bottom of the rankings for the franchise. The only reason I scored it as high as I did is because, unlike Anarchy, this at least aspires to be more than a horror movie, considering the obvious tie-in to our current politics. Unfortunately, it falls woefully short. For those who care, I’d currently rank the movies in this order:
The First Purge
Purge Election Year
The Forever Purge
To be fair, Anarchy is definitely more fun than this one, but Forever nudges ahead because it has a better setting and an attempt at a stronger message. WORD TO THE WISE: Anyone who spent last weekend binging the films and TV series on Peacock so they could get ready for this one, SAVE YOUR MONEY. Skip this.