A new controversial political party has usurped the nation’s traditional two-party system and managed to get one of their own elected as President. The President enacts an even more controversial social experiment – the first purge. Contained to a single island in New York, the nation’s first “purge” is encouraged by the governing party to release the community’s anger and frustration in one single night in order to reduce crime rates throughout the rest of the year (which, if you have seen the other three movies, actually works). When the people don’t become as violent as predicted by the government, they send in their own teams to stir the pot. The social experiment is revealed to be a guise for decreasing the minority population (surprise, surprise), and the inhabitants of the island must defend themselves from teams of militant assassins, all while the nation watches.
I can’t say I was surprised by anything here. The movie plays out as expected. If you’ve seen the trailer and seen the previous “Purge” movies, then you know what happens. Considering this is a prequel to the original movie, we even know that nothing people do in this movie to prevent the purge will actually work. The first movie had the “shock and awe” factor going for it, bringing an original, controversial plot to life that no one had seen before. Now that we’re four movies in, there’s not much left to make these movies original anymore. I’ve heard rumors of the studio moving forward with making “The Purge” a TV series instead of making more movies, which I think is a smart move. A TV series will give us a glimpse into what it’s like in the daily life of someone who has to live in a world where the purge exists; it will show us what happens in the days leading up to and the morning after the purge. I think that’s something people will want to see.
The sense of horror has steadily declined with each sequel, but none so much as this one. Now it seems we are witnessing multiple personal struggles play out among political agendas and various social dramas. The purge has gone from a horror series to an action survival drama, and it even came with its own heroic main character and ridiculous villain character. The “villain” is a lunatic named “Skeletor” who runs around killing random people during the night of the purge. Skeletor – as in the bad guy from the 80’s cartoon series “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe”. Luckily, we have a gangster-turned-hero character who saves the day by killing almost all of the government’s militia nearly single-handedly. The entire third act was like watching a “Rambo” movie. In the end, the militia is defeated and the community arises feeling victorious for having survived the night, but we all know the nation ends up with an annual purge day anyway, so I’m not sure what was accomplished.
I guess they wanted some star-power behind the movie so we get Marisa Tomei as one of the governing bodies behind the purge experiment. Although I’m not sure why she was even in the movie because another member of the new government party kills off her character quickly. Let me clarify, I understand why her character was needed but I don’t know why they needed Marisa Tomei for the role. Literally, anyone could have played her character. It just seems odd to go from an iconic role as Aunt May in Spider-Man to a brief stint in the fourth Purge movie, especially since I didn’t recognize any other actor in this movie. At least Ethan Hawke was the main character in the original movie.
This movie did have some creative psychopaths running amok on the island, but nothing like the previous movie. Just when I thought we were going to get some interesting scenes with creepy, costumed murderers, the plot quickly transformed into a scene from an action movie. This was definitely a step down for the franchise.
This movie is…
I’ll be interested to see how the TV series plays out.
Cheers and goodnight.