It would be easy enough to dismiss the “Purge” franchise as just another hopped-up, ultraviolent vehicle for visceral mayhem, apart from the naggingly accurate satire of its central thesis: Giving Americans — a society hooked into guns, drenched violent imagery, and driven to tribal aggrievement, a minimum of partially by a right-wing media that gains precious ratings points by continually fanning these flames — an evening to watch their darkest violent fantasies without legal repercussion is an ingenious little bit of hyperbole, cutting so on the brink of the reality you’ll practically smell the aftershave.
That concept has kept the franchise moving through five installments now, since 2013, and it’s proved to be versatile enough to stay up with the changes within the political landscape. This episode, set in rural Texas, takes the thought of immigration — and intolerance for foreigners coming to our country — and turns it neatly on its head. This time, the Purge, reinstated by the “New Founding Fathers,” once more in power, blasts past its allotted 12 hours, and instead, becomes “ever after,” a call to all-out war by racist militias, hell-bent on “purifying” this country of anyone not lily-white.
This is exceptionally bad news for Adela (Ana de la Reguera), and her husband, Juan (Tenoch Huerta), who newly come to the U.S. via Mexico, after being driven off their land by a Cartel. Juan, a gifted cowboy with a superb horse-wrangling sense, works in commission to the ranch led by Caleb Tucker (Will Patton), the patriarch (and, perhaps, one among the only a few socialist-leaning ranchers in Texas), whose hot-headed son, Dylan (Josh Lucas), considerably doesn’t share his father’s more progressive views toward mixing the races.
When the Purge continues unabated after the traditional curfew, Adela and Juan, Dylan, his pregnant wife Emma (Cassidy Freeman), his younger sister, Harper (Leven Rambin), and Juan’s friend T.T. (Alejandro Edda), all need to continue the lam together in one among the ranch’s giant truck rigs, hoping to form it right down to the border, where Mexican officialdom have offered a decent window of sanctuary for Americans fleeing the violent chaos of their homeland(!)
Yes, it’s just that absolutely on-the-nose, and this film, directed by Everardo Gout, from a screenplay by the series’ sturdy helmsman, James DeMonaco, like all the others before it, walks an exceedingly fraying tightrope, commenting on Americans’ propensity and adoration for violence … while producing a blood-soaked, gun-worshipping violent thriller that appeals exactly thereto demographic. There are political lessons to be learned, in fact — not the smallest amount of which, race-separatist Dylan learns the advantages of individuals of races helping one another, (and all Juan and Adela had to try to do was repeatedly save his and his wife’s life to urge him there) — and what certainly appears to be a timely critique of the Capitol rioters, who in their eagerness to inflict their anger on politicians created the simplest possible case against their cause, but amid all the gunfire and blood splattering, there’s not much time for more thoughtful political commentary (“America are going to be American again!” is one among the Purgers’ helpful slogans).
Clumsy because it could also be — Gout features a way of inserting truly uninspired jump-scares into the action during a way that feels wholly unnecessary — it’s still smart enough to play with political conventions during a way that adds a minimum of a little amount of heft to its otherwise bland payload. Making Juan and Adela the first protagonists (they are both skilled with weapons, we are told, due to their battles with the Cartel) may be a more inspired move, whilst it keeps having to pump up Dylan’s action bonafides within the process.
Subtlety isn’t within the cards for the franchise, (“That’s American music!” declares a swastika-tattooed militia member, upon hearing the echoing cacophony of gunfire within the distance), but, perhaps, DeMonaco is onto something by appealing to a theater audience there for the anarchy and gunfire, and presenting a special viewpoint alongside the headshots and blood sprays. One imagines the films might a minimum of countermand a number of the worst of the racist rhetoric on right-wing news channels and therefore the bowels of the web. If so, it is a small price to buy perspective.