Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Purge

The Purge bannerSurvive The Night

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield

Director: James DeMonaco

2013 | 85 Minutes | Rated R

“Just remember all the good the purge does.” – Mary Sandin

The Purge had a HUGE amount of internet hype after its initial release. It would be hard for a movie to live up to that kind of hype (just ask Cabin in the Woods) so I gave it a little bit of time before opting to actually watch it. I think that was the right move because I saw the movie’s positives and negatives as they were and not through a tainted lens.

In the year 2022, The Purge is a single night where U.S. citizens are allowed 12 hours of legal crime… including murder. During this year’s Purge, a wealthy family, the Sandins, are held hostage by masked home invaders.

The premise of the movie seems pretty crazy at first glance but there are times where you see things like this and it doesn’t seem too out there. When we have kids knocking out random people in the streets for the fun of it and psychologists creating new insane studies, it isn’t too hard to believe that the government could someday sanction something this bats**t crazy and people would get into it. And I don’t know about you but if the US instituted an annual purge I’d get the heck out of the country.

Ethan Hawke is kind of a douche. I don’t know him personally but I always find his characters hard to like. It’s no different with his character in The Purge. He’s a sub-par dad, husband and person but he seems to be better than the rest of the scum living around him.

Screencap from The Purge featuring Rhys WakefieldI had seen Rhys Wakefield previously in Sanctum. He did fine in that but the part he plays in The Purge seems like a much better fit for him. He has such a unique face that it’s easy to believe that he is this rich snob having a jolly old time taking part in The Purge.

The whole purge storyline is actually wasted. The whole idea that anything goes on this one night, only to have the payoff be a little more than a home invasion flick seems like a bit of a waste of the concept. It’s also fairly predictable, which was pretty disappointing given the hype that I am supposed to be ignoring in this review.

We get a sense of what the purge has done to society but it would have been especially interesting to see a more in depth view of society outside this one night. It’s reasonable to think that daily life wouldn’t just go back to normal after 12 hours a year filled with violence, rape and murder. The best sense we get of this is from the news reports at the beginning and end of the movie.

The Purge serves as a passable home invasion flick with some good scares and fun action. It’s not bad but feels like it fell way short of its potential. I know there is now a sequel out. I hope it is able to improve on the original.

The Purge movie poster

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