In the first scene of “The Forever Purge,” we see a wild horse being broken … possibly as a metaphor for the nightmare that the United States has become.
The setting of the fifth in the series is deceptively simple and calm.
The patriarch of the Tucker ranch is Caleb (Will Patton,) who knows a horse whisperer: immigrant Juan (Tenoch Huerta, “Days of Grace,”) who works for the family.
Juan’s skill earns the jealousy of Caleb’s son Dylan (Josh Lucas, “Ford v Ferrari.”)
On television screens, we see talking heads discuss The Purge, the annual event in which crime is legal. “The purge is an American virus, and it is spreading,” says a Texas tribal leader.
Juan ad his wife Adela (Ana de la Reguera, “Cowboys & Aliens”) joins her husband and a group of other Mexicans in the community in a safe haven. Meanwhile, the Tuckers gather together in front of a fireplace in their beautiful home to ride out The Purge.
The whole nation hears the sirens go off and an announcement from TV that The Purge has begun: “Blessed be our new founding fathers,” the voice says.
We see some ghastly crimes, but from a distance. When The Purge is over, the characters emerge from their safe havens to see the streets run red with blood while cleanup begins.
Except it isn’t over. Because groups of extremists who want The Purge to continue are about to unleash even more bloodshed.
Now, for the first time, absolutely no one is safe, and that provides a nice twist for the characters.
James DeMonaco, the creator of this franchise, wrote the screenplay, which is well-directed by Everardo Gout (“Days of Grace.”)
It’s a political commentary, for sure, with themes about hate-mongering, forgiveness and the importance of working together. In the auditorium in which I saw it, the audience clapped when one of the villains gets a well-deserved finish.
I’ll bet this isn’t the finish for “The Purge,” though, because it continues to draw fans. I have a feeling we might see another chapter next year.
Running time: One hour and 43 minutes.
Rated: R for violence and foul language.
At Cinemark, Davenport; Palms 10, Muscatine; and the Blue Grass Drive-In.